[Notes] Interim Railway Budget 2014-15

Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge left train fares and freight rates unchanged on Wednesday, in an interim rail budget ahead of a national election due by May.






Highlights:

* 90.8% Operating ratio (Money spent against every Rs 100 earned)  worse than last year’s 90.2%, 89.8% Projected for 2014-15


* No increase in passenger fares and freight charges


* 17 new premium trains, 38 express trains and 10 passenger trains to be launched


* Updates on passenger name record (PNR) status via SMSes.


* Premium AC trains with dynamic fares on Delhi-Mumbai route with shorter advance reservation period



* Indian Railways to explore options to raise trains speeds to up to 200 kilometres an hour on trains to Agra and Chandigarh from India’s capital. A feasibility study for high-speed trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is already under way.


* Passenger services to Katra, near the popular Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, to start soon. Trial runs on the extended railway line from Udhampur are under way.


* Railways to expand services to Meghalaya


* ‘Green Curtains’ to be set up at railways stations in Agra and Jaipur as a pilot project, which would involve constructing a boundary wall and landscaping around railway tracks.


* More high-speed trains to be launched


* Railways exploring low cost option of 160-200 kmph speed trains on select routes


* Rail Tariff Authority to advise on fares and freight


* Mumbai to get AC EMUs in July


* Annual Rail Plan envisaged at Rs 64,305 crore with a budgetary support of Rs 30,223 crore


* FDI being enabled for creation of rail infrastructure


* Railways to end current year with surplus


* Surveys for 19 new lines and 5 doubling of tracks


* Railways to encourage transportation of milk


* Steps to reduce running of empty freight carriages


* Bio-toilet facility to be provided in more trains.


* Online booking of retiring rooms at important railway stations.


* Online booking of meals on trains at several stations.


* Mobile phone ticketing to be started in the unreserved segment.


* Increasing the number of automatic ticket vending machines


* Trains to display info on next stations, arrival times


* More Jan Ahaar outlets, escalators at stations


* Upgradation scheme extended to AC Chair Car and Executive Chair car passengers


* 3 premium weekly Jai Hind Express trains from Bandra (Mumbai), Howrah, Yesvantpur


* Induction of Train Collision Avoidance System and smoke and fire alarm system


* Transporting milk in special parcel trains


* A new concept of hub for parcel business


* Freight loading target of 1,101 million tonnes — an increment of 49.7 million
tonnes


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