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Railways laid on an average 7.41 km tracks daily in 10 yrs: RTI

New Delhi: The Indian Railways has laid on an average of 7.41 km of tracks, which include new line construction as well as doubling, tripling and gauge conversion of existing lines in the past ten years, a response to an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the Railways Ministry revealed.

According to data provided by the ministry, it laid a total of 27057.7 kms of railway tracks in ten years from 2014-15 to 2023-24 which covers the construction of new lines, doubling as well as tripling of existing lines and conversion from meter gauge to broad gauge.

“When I calculate the data, the daily average km of track-laying work in ten years comes around 7.41 km,” said Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur, who had filed the application.

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Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw during recent press briefings said the Indian Railways is currently adding about 15 km of new tracks every day.

“Last year, the Railways added 5,200 km of new tracks which is equivalent to the entire network of Switzerland. This year we are adding 5,500 kms. From 4 km per day in 2014, we are now adding about 15 km per day of the new tracks,” Vaishnaw said during a press conference in the Rail Bhawan on February 2, 2024.

The RTI response shows that in 2022-23, the Railways laid 3,901 km of total tracks, including new (473 km), doubling (3185.53 km) and gauge conversion (242.2). The Indian Railways’ website, which shows such statistics, hasn’t been updated as it still shows data up to 2021-22.

The officials say that 2022-23 can be seen as an unprecedented year for the Railways as it laid the highest kms of tracks ever in its history.

“In July 2021, Ashwini Vaishnaw was given charge of the Railway Ministry and it was under his leadership that the Railways achieved a historic feat by laying 3,901 km of tracks which comes around 10.68 km per day. This was unprecedented,” said a railway official, close to infrastructure projects.

He added, “The significant achievement was made due to increase in budgetary allocation, simplification of the work allotment process and expediting the process of work order.”

Gaur said that the Railways, despite making significant progress, failed to continue the momentum as the total track laying work came down from 3,901 km in 2022-23 to 2,966 km in 2023-24 making it 8.12 km per day.

The Railways second best performance was in the financial year of 2018-19 when it laid a total of 3,596 km of tracks.

Gaur also highlighted that Railways new line construction work has been slow as in the past ten years 4838.47 km of new lines were laid at an average rate of 1.32 km per day.

The Railways’ best performance in terms of constructing new lines was in 2016-17 when it laid 953 kms new track which comes to around 2.61 km per day.

“More new lines construction indicate that more new areas come under the rail network whereas doubling and tripling is good for minimising over-utilisation of existing track and improving punctuality of trains along with ensuring passenger safety,” Gaur said.

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