Fixed Assets: Expanding network and improving facilities

Expanding network and improving facilities

In the past year, Indian Railways (IR) has increased the pace of development of fixed infrastructure. This is primarily due to increased budgetary allocations and faster clearance of projects. Going forward, IR needs to sustain the pace of development in terms of tracks, bridges stations, terminals and other facilities.


IR’s network has increased from 64,460 km in 2011 to 66,030 km in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of only 0.6 per cent. Further, IR’s network is primarily broad gauge covering 87 per cent of the total route km, 9 per cent is metre gauge, and the remaining 4 per cent is narrow gauge. Within zonal railways, Northern Railway has the longest network in terms of route km at 7,221 km. Others with a network of over 5,000 km are Southern Railway, North Western Railway, South Central Railway and Western Railway. New routes that were commissioned in 2014-15 include Udhampur-Katra, Dudhnoi-Mendipathar-Lumding-Silchar, Rangia-Murkongselek, Koderma-Hazaribagh, and Bhind-Etawah. The commissioning of the Dudhnoi-Mendipathar new line has placed Meghalaya on the country’s rail map.


The total number of bridges on IR’s network has increased from 133,160 in 2011 to 138,912 in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 1.06 per cent. Of the total, 91 per cent are minor bridges, 8 per cent are major bridges and the remaining 1 per cent are important bridges. In terms of age, over 56 per cent of the total bridges in the country are less than 60 years old, while over one-fourth of the total bridges are over a century old.

A zone-wise look at the total number of bridges across IR’s network shows that the Northern Railway zone is the most bridge-dense zone, accounting for over 18,500 bridges.  Other zones with over 10,000 bridges each are Southern Railway, South Central Railway and Western Railway.

According to the Pink Book, 2015-16, there are 29 bridge-related projects worth over Rs 2 billion that were proposed to be taken up by IR. The total outlay for these projects in 2015-16 was Rs 0.23 billion.


IR has about 8,500 stations located across the country. Of these, 75 stations are major stations with annual earnings of over Rs 600 million which are categorised as A 1 class stations. Of the rest, A class stations account for 4 per cent, B class 3 per cent, C class 6 per cent, D class 12 per cent, E class 49 per cent and F class 25 per cent.

Stations are selected for redevelopment on the basis of criteria related to commercial viability. Of the seven stations identified for redevelopment, six are being implemented by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited and one by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA).

Meanwhile, IR has identified 1,195 stations for upgradation under the Adarsh Station Scheme. Of this, the maximum number of stations is under Eastern Railway (277), followed by Southern Railway (122) and Northern Railway (119). Till November 2015, 946 stations had been upgraded under this scheme.

Freight terminals

Freight terminals are developed under the Private Freight Terminal [PFT] Policy, 2010, which had been revised in 2015. Till November 2015, 27 PFTs were notified by IR. In addition, 41 proposals for PFTs were finalised by IR, and these are expected to be notified in the next few years. Of these, 36 PFTs will be greenfield terminals and the remaining will be brownfield projects.

Meanwhile, another three greenfield PFTs are currently under consideration. These are located at Sidhpur, Gujarat; between Anekal Road and Hosur, Tamil Nadu; and between Kukkadam and Nadikude, Telangana.

Multifunctional complexes

Multi-functional complexes (MFCs) are being set up at important stations to cater to multiple passenger needs at a single location. Currently, 197 stations have been identified for the development of MFCs. Of these, 163 have been entrusted to RLDA, while the remaining projects are being developed by zonal railways.

Of the total number of MFCs under RLDA, 40 have been entrusted to railway undertakings like IRCON International Limited, Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited. As of July 2015, RLDA had awarded 62 MFCs for development, while 13 MFCs had been commissioned. Meanwhile, 31 MFC projects have been proposed to be developed through other agencies.

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