Indian Railways through three upcoming Railway corridors - the energy, mineral and cement corridor, the port connectivity corridors, and the high traffic density corridors – will look to improve efficiency and reduce cost, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2024-2025, she said, “Projects have been identified under the PM Gati Shakti for enabling multi-modal connectivity. They will improve logistics’ efficiency and reduce cost.”

According to her, the resultant decongestion of the high-traffic corridors will also help in improving operations of passenger trains. This in turn will result in safety and higher travel speed for passengers.

“Together with dedicated freight corridors, these three economic corridor programmes will accelerate our GDP growth and reduce logistic costs,” she said.

Of the two dedicated freight corridors, the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor is fully operational, while most part of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor is operational.

This apart, 40,000 normal rail bogies (older version) will be converted to Vande Bharat standards “to enhance safety, convenience and comfort of passengers”.

The Finance Minster also stressed on the need for urban transformation by promoting Metro Rail and NaMo Bharat (the Regional Rapid Transit Systems). Expansion of these mass transit systems will be supported across large cities.

“We have a fast expanding middle class and rapid urbanisation is taking place. Metro Rail and NaMo Bharat can be the catalyst for required urban transformation. Expansion of these systems will be supported in large cities focussing on transit-oriented development,” she said.

The first NaMo Bharat train was inaugurated earlier in October 2023, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a ride on the completed 17-km stretch from Sahibabad to Duhai Depot in Uttar Pradesh. The full 82-km Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor is scheduled to be functional by 2025.