Working in a pandemic, the country’s railway infrastructure got 14 “super-critical” projects — vital to its network expansion, increase in speed and capacity — delivered last year and is now gearing up to complete 27 more such undertakings by December this year, and two more within three months after that.
Officials said that since railway traffic was next to nil (passenger trains were halted for months last year before starting a truncated, calibrated resumption of services; freight trains ran as per demand), it was convenient to an extent to plan execution of large contracts and carry out track-related works wherever needed.
Railways had cherry picked 58 such projects a few years ago to prioritise its resources on them. Spanning 3,750 km, these projects are works of multi-tracking, that is construction of double, third, fourth line on the busiest routes.
“Since there was a pandemic, a lot of the works could take place without having to block traffic and such considerations during planning and execution. These projects are significant in the scheme of things of Indian Railways because they give the network a definite upgrade in terms of speed and carrying capacity. Like more trains and faster trains,” said a senior Railway ministry official connected with line construction.
In May, despite the second wave and an election, Indian Railways commissioned part of two doubling projects — Katwa-Bazar Sau and Azimganj-Bazar Sau in West Bengal. The doubling of this line is important in view of traffic moving from Barddhaman to and from Sahibganj for movement of coal for NTPCs thermal plants.
In June, Railways commissioned Bhusawal-Jalgaon third line project in Maharashtra, which will remove bottlenecks and provide much relief for operation of train service in Manmad-Khandwa and Bhusaval-Udhna section.
In Assam, commissioning of a second line track on Naranarayan setu on Brahmaputra river of New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section in May will increase railway capacity in Northeast.
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