New Delhi: Like the last time, the Government clubbed the Railway Budget together with the Union Budget this time too.
In Budget 2018 which was announced on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the the Indian Railways.
"Over Rs 1.48 lakh crore to be allocated for Railways in next fiscal," Jaitley said.
He proposed a target of doubling 18,000 km of lines and said gauge conversion is underway to eliminate capacity constraints.
The minister said 36,000 km of rail track renewal has been targeted in the coming year while 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes are to be eliminated in the next two years.
New world-class train sets are being manufactured, dedicated freight corridors are coming up and electrification being taken up as a priority task for which Indian Railways is expected to explore other avenues to raise funds, the finance minister said.
Wifi and CCTVs will be progressively provided in all trains and there will be escalators at stations with 25,000-plus footfall.
The minister also pointed out that 600 stations have been earmarked for modernisation by the Railways. The focus will also be on a suburban rail network in Mumbai and Bangalore.
Also read: Union Budget 2018: Key highlights
Declaring that the Railways are going to procure 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and 700 locomotives, Jaitley said that these are "significant achievements of physical targets by Railways."
The finance minister also announced that since the foundation stone of the bullet train had already been laid, an institute will be established in Vadodara where the manpower required for high speed railway projects will be trained.
Laying out a roadmap for the Indian Railways, Jaitley said the focus would be on modernisation of signalling, use of fog safety devices, better passenger amenities and safety in the coming year....