National Rail Plan Forecast 3500 MT Freight, 12 Billion Passengers By 2030

New Delhi, Oct 29: Passenger volume touching 12 billion passengers per annum,  3500 MT freight and Rs 50 lakh cr worth rail works are some of the targets being worked out in the National Rail Plan-2030.

Slated to be launched in the first week of December, the NRP-30 envisaged the entire Golden Quadrilateral and Golden Diagonal routes to be operational at 160 kmph speed in addition to six high speed rail corridors along with more dedicated freight corridors criss crossings the country.

The NRP-30 envisages to create capacity ahead of demand which is to create capacity by 2030 which should be substantially adequate to accommodate demand growth up to 2050.

The NRP has also laid down infrastructural interventions that are required to augment the capacity of the network along with timelines.

Indian Railways network is constrained by capacity. Due to capacity constraints, Indian Railways is unable to meet demand in both passenger and freight especially during peak periods. Unmet demand constantly is shifting from rail to other modes and as a result, the modal share of the Railways is constantly dropping.

The challenge before the Railways is to create capacity that will not only accommodate increasing demand but also reduce cost of operations which can be leveraged for increasing modal share.

Over-saturation of capacity also increases cost of operations resulting in High Operating Ratio which means low or non-existent profitability.

Logistic cost has also to be reduced as at present it is 13 per cent of the production cost while the global benchmarking is about 5 per cent to 6 per cent.

The government has given the Railways target of 45 per cent modal share in transportation which is currently at 26 per cent, said the official.

In 1958 railways’ modal share in transportation was 80 per cent which has been reduced over the years to 26 per cent now. “It is because the capacity is less and demand is more resulting in the unmet demand escaping to the road sector. So over the years it was bleeding away railway shares to road sector. The capacity augmentation could not match the pace of demand. While volume has gone up many times, the capacity has grown in a small fraction,” the official added.

The focus of the National Rail Plan is to increase the freight volume with a concrete business plan and speed up the passenger-carrying trains as well as goods trains, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Taking into account the upcoming zero-based Time Table and private train operation, the NRP-30 which is in the final draft stage, has envisaged introduction of seat on demand in popular trains while doing away with waiting list problems.

At present there are 8 billion passengers booked per year in the Railways which is slated to increase upto 12 billion by 2030. National Rail Plan envisaged the freight volume to increase to 3500 million tons with increasing the average speed of goods trains from the current 25 kmph to 50 kmph.

The NRP-30 provides the platform for combining infrastructural planning with business planning of the Railways. In addition to infrastructural planning, the NRP will provide for policy interventions required to increase the modal share of the Railways.

The NRP-30 will also provide models for funding/financing projects that the Railways can adopt in future projects. This is as per NITI Aayog’s directives.

NRP has also highlighted the increase of capital expenditure by 3 to 4 times with a concrete business plan by 2030.

NRP-30 has also emphasised on reduction in travel time with major trunk routes being upgraded to 160 kmph and induction of train sets for passengers.

Carbon emission is a global concern and the transportation sector is a major contributor to the increased carbon footprint.

According to the government, the Railways has a major role in reducing the emission by opting to 100 percent electrification to make Indian Railways environment-friendly.