Login Register Contact Us

Coal news and updates

Railways looks at upgrading tracks near coal mines

20 Jun 2022


The Indian Railways is eyeing a significant upgrade of track infrastructure near mines that will be focused on coal bearing regions for expeditious transportation as the country grapples with spike in power demand. The plan will also include setting up requisite infrastructure at mines before they are auctioned, officials told ET.

According to one of the officials quoted above, the focus is on creating requisite infrastructure in coal and iron ore bearing regions of Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.

The ministry is in talks with the stakeholder ministries and departments. It has also begun initial discussions with the coal and power ministries for upgrade of the existing infrastructure to address any possible increase in demand for coal.

"There is a view that a rail line should be provided wherever the output is estimated to more than one million tonnes per annum," the official said. "This approach may even result in railway lines being developed ahead of coal production starting in some coal mines. We are planning to be prepared in advance to address any future rail network shortages," he added.

In line with this approach, the South East Central Railway (SECR) zone has been tasked with developing 14 projects that are at sanctioning stage. These new lines will cover a distance of over 2985 track kms.

Other key projects include the commissioning the first phase of the Angul-Balarampur link. This new line is targeted to be completed by this month end. Another significant project is the inner corridor of 14 kilometres (km) at Augul in the first phase followed by 54 km rail link of Balaram - Jarapada - Putagadia in the second phase.

The rail links in both phases are to be doubled during the second phase as well and financial closure for the first phase is targeted by December 2022. Indian Railway Construction Limited (Ircon) has been tasked with completing this project by December 2024.

Addressing Shortages
Ahead of the upgrade plan, the Indian Railways recently awarded contracts for manufacturing 63,116 wagons.

These bids came in against a demand of 90,000 wagons. The wagons are to be delivered in phases by October 31, 2025 and will supplement the existing 3 lakh wagons of the Indian Railways.

At present, rake availability is a key issue that surfaces during peak coal demand season, impacting the freight movement on the Indian Railways. The shortage of rakes during peak coal demand seasons sometimes become so acute that non-power sectors such as steel, aluminium, and cement end up with very few numbers to meet their needs.

"The issue of rake availability is being addressed with the large number of wagons that are being procured by the Indian Railways. A fresh large tender for procuring 90,000 wagons will soon be called," the official added.