Upgrade of 40,000 bogies, 3 new rail corridors: FM Nirmala Sitharaman lays out Rs 2.55 lakh capex for Railways
The Railways has been a focal point for the government, witnessing transformative initiatives such as station redevelopment, new train introductions, and gauge conversions
In her Interim Budget speech delivered in the lower house of parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a substantial allocation of Rs 2.55 lakh crore as capital expenditure (capex) for the Indian Railways in the new financial year. This marks a noteworthy commitment to the continued development and enhancement of the country's railway infrastructure.
As part of this significant investment, Sitharaman disclosed plans to convert approximately 40,000 rail bogies to Vande Bharat standards, reinforcing the government's dedication to modernizing and standardizing the rail fleet. The Finance Minister also unveiled three new corridors for the railways, namely the Energy, Mineral, and Cement corridor, the Port Connectivity Corridor, and a High Traffic Density Corridor. These corridors, identified under the PM Gati Shakti scheme, aim to facilitate multi-modal connectivity, ultimately reducing costs and enhancing operational efficiency across the rail network.
The allocation for Indian Railways in the current financial year represents a continued focus on the sector, building on the previous year's capital outlay of Rs 2.4 lakh crore – the highest ever recorded and approximately nine times the outlay in 2013-14.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the railways have been a key priority, witnessing a comprehensive transformation that includes the redevelopment of railway stations, the introduction of new trains such as the Vande Bharat Express and Amrit Bharat Express, the conversion of Narrow Gauge (NG) lines to Broad Gauge (BG) lines, connectivity to remote corners of the country, and the doubling of tracks.
Adding to the list of innovations, the railway is set to unveil the prototype of the Vande Metro, a mini version of the successful Vande Bharat series, by the end of the month.
In a strategic move towards sustainable transportation, the government is also focusing on the introduction of Hydrogen trains on the railway network. Initially planned for hilly areas like Shimla and Darjeeling, these trains are expected to enhance the passenger experience and contribute to boosting tourism in these scenic regions. The Interim Budget reflects a continued commitment to the modernization and expansion of the Indian Railways, positioning it as a critical driver of economic growth and connectivity.