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India's Railways: Futuristic Mega Terminals



  Mar 20, 2024

India’s Railways: A Leap Towards Futuristic Infrastructure with Mega Terminals



The Indian government is steering the development of new rail infrastructure toward a futuristic vision, focusing on cities with populations exceeding one million. This move is part of a broader initiative to transform India into a developed nation, aligning with the government’s “Viksit Bharat” vision. The announcement, as communicated by the railways ministry on March 8, emphasizes the creation of ‘mega terminals’—transport hubs offering multimodal connectivity through greenfield projects.

These mega terminals are envisioned as part of the government’s effort to enhance the existing rail infrastructure, which has seen rapid growth in both passenger and freight traffic over the years but without a corresponding upgrade in station facilities. This initiative is also a response to the changing patterns of migration and the increasing demand for transport solutions in million-plus cities, which have been identified as ‘aspirational cities’.

Project Details and Objectives

• Urgent Development: The project has been marked as urgent, with a detailed list of cities identified for the development of these terminals. The railway zones are tasked with preparing city-specific presentations to outline the proposed plans.

• Planning Parameters: Instructions have been issued to include 50-year population growth trends, the rate of urbanization, mapping of existing infrastructure, and the potential impact on urban development and urbanization. The importance of catering to cities of major tourism and religious significance is also highlighted.

• Holistic Approach: The government’s plan aims not just to develop terminal buildings and rail lines but also to ensure that yard capacity and stabling lines are considered. The initiative seeks to promote synergy among different modes of transport—air, rail, road—to offer comprehensive transport solutions.

National Rail Plan 2030

The development of mega terminals is a continuation of the vision outlined in the National Rail Plan 2030, which aims for significant capacity and infrastructure development to meet the growth needs up to 2050. This plan focuses on increasing the modal share of railways in freight traffic to 45% and encourages private sector involvement in operations, development of freight and passenger terminals, and track infrastructure operations.

Conclusion

The initiative to develop mega terminals is a significant step towards modernizing India’s railway infrastructure, catering to the burgeoning demand for efficient and integrated transport solutions. It signifies a strategic move to accommodate future growth, streamline the movement of goods and people, and enhance the overall development of urban and peri-urban areas across the country.



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