Even as we are coming towards the end of 2018, an eventful year in almost all walks of life, the year will be remembered for, among other things, as the year which heralded a new era as far as the Indian Railways is concerned. As the Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal recently said that if the Indian Railways were to attempt a tagline for its achievements in the year 2018, it would probably be “2018, a year of many firsts”. This indeed presents an accurate picture of what the Railways achieved in 2018. The Railways was able to achieve some of the biggest milestones till date and the national carrier is undoubtedly moving in the right direction with a newfound vigor. Following have been some of the major breakthroughs that the Railways was able to achieve in 2018.
Train-18: India’s first indigenously built engine less train:
Train 18 (T-18), which is touted to be India’s semi-bullet train, is India’s first indigenously built engine less train. This train wouldn’t require any locomotive to haul it. It is touted as a successor to the likes of Shatabdi Express, Train 18 is aimed to reduce not only travel time, but also give a new level of comfort to the Indian passengers, who have consistently demanded better quality services from Indian Railways. Following are some of its impressive features :
1. Self-propelled train
- Normal speed of 130 km. / hr., which can rise to a potential speed of 180+, even 200 km. / hr. if the traffic signals permit
- AC Chair Car type coaches
- 360-degree rotating seats
- Diffused lighting, automatic doors, and footsteps
- GPS based Passenger Information System etc.
After a dozen of mock trials, Train 18 had a successful trial on the standard rail tracks. It breached the speed barrier of 180 kmph without any hassles, making it India’s fastest train ever.
First Railway University
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani along with the Minister of Railways of India, Piyush Goyal, dedicated the first Railway University – National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI) to the nation. The inauguration ceremony took place at National Academy of Indian Railway (NAIR) campus in Vadodara this month. The university which is the first of its kind will cater to the needs of modernisation and innovation as far as the Indian Railways is concerned. On the occasion, Piyush Goyal had urged the students to come forward to make a difference. He had also said that the aim is to develop a world class infrastructure to encourage cutting edge research in the railways. This, indeed, is a major step in the right direction and the university can be said to be a stepping stone towards the development of an efficient research infrastructure catering towards the modernisation needs of the Railways.
Diesel locomotive converted into an electric one:
In another first, the Indian Railways converted a diesel locomotive into an electric one. The process was carried out in a short time span of merely 69 days which shows the efficiency with which the Railways achieved this phenomenal feat. This was also seen as a major shot in the arm as far as the efforts to completely electrify the broad gauge network are concerned. It is also important to mention here that a cabinet meet led by the prime minister approved the plan of 100 percent electrification of Indian railways earlier this year. The electrification is expected to complete by 2022. Piyush Goyal said, “we have electrified about 46% of routes. The work is on for electrification of about 20,000 km of routes, after which about 78% of Indian Railways will be electrified. Today [Wednesday], the Cabinet has approved 13,675 km of remaining routes at the cost of 12,134 crore.” This is going to set new benchmarks in efficiency in the functioning of the Railways.
Setting new standards in safety:
This has to be the most important of a number of feats that the Railways achieved this year. The number of rail accidents has come down in a significant way. While in 2017-2018, there were 73 accidents, and the Railways for the first time managed to bring down the number of accidents in a year into two-digit figures, since April there were 45 such cases till December 15, this year. During April-December in 2017, there were 54 such cases. Thus, going by these figures we can expect the Railways to maintain the momentum it has achieved and better its record as far as reducing the number of rail accidents is concerned.
Bogibeel Bridge inaugurated:
PM Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge which is the second rail cum road Bridge on the Brahmaputra after Saraighat Bridge and has reduced the distance between Delhi and Dibrugarh by 155 km. It happens to be the longest bridge in the country and it will make movement on Brahmaputra River very easy. It is a major achievement as far as rail infrastructure in the North-east region of the country is concerned and will help in further negating a sense of isolation which used to prevail in the region on account of geographical location.
2018 undoubtedly turned out to be the year of the Railways. Under the leadership of Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, the national carrier is progressing at an unprecedented phase and setting new milestones as well as impressive records.