Giving a major push to infrastructure building, the Railways has commissioned 2,855 km long new lines and eliminated 1,503 unmanned level crossings in the 2016-17 fiscal. Besides, the public transporter has also exceeded its electrification target by completing more than 2,000 km route from April, 2016 to March 31, 2017.”Since unmanned level crossings are responsible for maximum number of train accidents, the Railways intends to eliminate all such crossings on broad gauge section, for which innovative financing mechanisms are being developed,” a senior Railway Ministry official said. In another milestone, the entire meter gauge has been converted to broad gauge (BG) in north east region, thus establishing the BG link with the rest of the country, he said.
The fiscal 2016-17 saw elimination of 1,503 unmanned level crossings and 484 manned level crossings by construction of road over-bridge and under-bridge, a record so far, the official said. The fiscal year ending (March 31, 2017) also saw completion of 1,306 road over-bridge and subways. “While the Railways has eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next 2 to 3 years,” the Railway Ministry official said. There are a total of 28,607 level crossings across the country, of which 19,267 are manned and 9,340 are unmanned, he said.
He said of the total unmanned level crossings, around 6,388 are on broad gauge network and a decision will be taken on their elimination soon. “Remaining 2,952 crossings exist on Meter-Gauge/Narrow Gauge network which can be taken up during the gauge conversion,” he said. The official said 750 bridges have been strengthened to ensure safe train travel on old bridges. Besides, the Railways has also managed to commission 45 freight terminals, and manufacture 658 locomotives and 4,280 passenger coaches in the financial year 2016-17, he added.