Govt. Planning for Complete Automation of Railways’ Signalling System at Rs 78,000 Crore
Complete modernization of Indian Railways‘ entire signaling system, including automation, at a whopping cost of Rs 78,000 crore is likely to get the nod among other safety measures in the forthcoming budget. The Railways, which is likely to get Rs 65,000 crore as gross budgetary support (GBS) this time, an increase of Rs 10,000 crore from the last one, is going ahead full throttle to generate funds from internal resources and also from the market to meet the huge requirement for infrastructure development and safety-enhancement measures.
Though the budget for 2018-19 will reflect an attempt to reduce working expenses in the next fiscal, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is leaving no stone unturned to replace the age-old tracks and upgrade signals as part of the national transporter’s safety requirements. “The modernized automation of the signaling system aims to enhance safety and speed up train movement in a congested network,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.
Safety and passenger amenities are likely to get top billing in the rail budget — merged with the general budget since the last fiscal — when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the budget for 2018-19 on February 1. This will be the government’s last full budget ahead of the 2019 general election. Replacement of the existing signaling network with a state-of-the-art system, proliferation of electronic interlocking systems, an introduction of the European Train Control System Level-2 and mobile train radio communication systems are part of the upgradation agenda of the Railways, which has drawn up a detailed plan to change the system over the next five years.