‘Sharp increase in Railway freight traffic indicative of strong revival in economic activity post-Covid’

The economic study notes that the “sharp increase” in freight traffic between fiscal years 22 and 21 is indicative of a “strong recovery in economic activity in the domestic economy” post-Covid, while investments continue to update.

About 2,359 Bags Rails, which were introduced in FY21 to transport perishables, transported 7.91 thousand tons of fruits and vegetables as of October 31.

Revenue-generating freight traffic in the April-November period rose 8.3 percent year-on-year at 976.8 million tons, compared to 901.7 metric tons in the same period last year.

Passenger traffic earnings have not yet recovered to pre-Covid levels, the survey said, adding that in the current financial year, emerging passenger traffic stood at Rs.418.4 crore (till November 2022).

Indian Railways’ emerging passenger traffic was Rs.809 crore during the pre-COVID-19 (2019-20) period, but fell to Rs.125 crore in FY21, and recovered to Rs.351.9 crore in FY22.

The study said: “Enhanced mobility across the country and demand for faster and competitive trains will aid passenger traffic growth in the coming years…. Freight traffic by IR has continued despite the Covid shock.”

Capital expenditure was at INR 245,800 crore in FY23, an increase of 29 per cent year-on-year. Capital expenditure in the same period last year was INR 190,267 crore. CAPEX categories include line doubling, railway stock investment, railway electrification, track renovation, railway over bridge and railway under bridge, bridge works, etc.

Moreover, during the last eight years (2014-22), 30,446 kilometers were electrified, compared to 4,698 kilometers electrified during the previous eight-year period, a more than six-fold increase.

Modernization plans

Some of the major projects currently underway include the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed ​​Rail (MAHSR), which is ‘in progress’ with technical and financial cooperation from the Japanese government while surveying and design aspects are completed.

Dedicated freight corridor projects – construction of eastern and western freight lanes along the Golden Quadrant – are underway and are expected to “reduce transit time and (logistical) cost”.

About 21 GatiShakti Multi Modial Charging Stations have been put into operation, the study said, and more than 90 locations have been provisionally identified.

Vande Bharat semi-high speed trains have been introduced while electric interlock systems have been made available across 6,322 stations covering 99 per cent of the stations.

The survey added that Indian Railways plans to “develop” a pilot project using Hyperloop technology – where trains run in levitation using linear induction motors and electromagnets in a vacuum environment. A collaboration has been entered into with IIT – Madras to develop a Center of Excellence.