VK Yadav, CEO and Chairman, Railway Board
With many news reports indicating the reduction of many small stations across the country after the implementation of the zero-based timetable, Railway Board Chairman and CEO VK Yadav on December 1 said the national transporter will ensure there is no passenger inconvenience and the aim is to reduce travel time.
"If there is a poorly patronised train, we will try to see if it can be merged with another train and run an additional train where there is more demand. We will ensure there is no passenger inconvenience. Travel time of trains will come down due to the zero-based timetable and the number of trains will not be reduced. Poorly patronised stoppages will be rationalised in a professional manner although we are yet to make a decision when it will be implemented. We will divulge details about it later in a formal manner," he said addressing the media.
He also said some passenger trains used by people in rural India will be converted into express trains and Railways is planning to convert passenger train services to Mainline Electric Multiple Unit rakes.
Yadav said the growth in freight services has not dimmed, with November witnessing loading at 110 mt, the highest in the year till now.
In this period, Railways earned Rs 10,657.66 crore from freight loading, which is Rs 449.79 crore higher compared to last year’s earnings for the same period.
On the Vande Bharat bidding process, Yadav said technical evaluation is currently underway and by January 15, the Railways expects to finalise the tender. adding that he won't be able to comment on the aspect of reverse bidding as the matter comes under the tender committee.
BULLET TRAIN PROJECT STATUS
On the land acquisition hurdles for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project in Maharashtra, Yadav said although only 22 percent land has been acquired in Maharashtra, they are in talks with the state government and things are moving in the right direction.
"We had a detailed discussion with Chief Secretary of Maharashtra government and he has promised that within four months, land acquisition will reach up to 80 percent. Work on the awarded tenders will begin in December this year and completed in four years," Yadav said.
Yadav expressed satisfaction on the response of private entities for the PPP in passenger train operations project.
"The response has been very good. In the Chennai cluster, six clusters have qualified. In Mumbai cluster, 11 companies have qualified and in remaining clusters, 8-10 companies have qualified," he said.
The project is expected to bring in private investment of around Rs 30,000 crore.