Railway Budget 2018: Capacity Expansion & Upgradation Marks

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Priyanka Dutta, New Delhi: In a first, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced the expansion of the Mumbai suburban train network, spread over 465 km, at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore and said the government also planned to allocate Rs 40,000 crore for the city’s rail network.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 trillion for the country’s age-old railway system on Thursday..Most of this money will be spent on capacity expansion, since it is a priority for the national transporter, Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget.

New world-class train sets are being manufactured, dedicated freight corridors are coming up and electrification being taken up as a priority task for which Indian Railways is expected to explore other avenues to raise funds, the finance minister said.

The focus on 18,000 km doubling of tracks, the highest ever for a year, 5,000 km of gauge conversion and elimination of unmanned level crossings, some 4,200 of them in two years, will continue. Wifi and CCTVs will be progressively provided in all trains and there will be escalators at stations with 25,000- plus footfall.

The minister also pointed out that 600 stations have been earmarked for modernisation by the railways. The focus will also be on a suburban rail network in Mumbai and Bangalore. Laying out a roadmap for the Indian Railways, Jaitley said the focus would be on modernisation of signalling, use of fog safety devices, better passenger amenities and safety in the coming year.

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