By the end of this year, Indian Railways hopes to run hydrogen-powered trains on some of its historic narrow-gauge tracks. The Matheran Hill Railway, Kangra Valley, Bilmora Waghai, Marwar-Devgarh Madriya, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Kalka Shimla Railway and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway are among Indian Railway’s historic lines.
In order to accelerate projects like the introduction of hydrogen-powered wagons and trains, the laying of extra tracks, the electrification of the network and the renovation of stations with enhanced passenger facilities, the railways has got a record financial push of over Rs 2.4 Lakh crore. On the Sonipat-Jind segment in the Indian state of Haryana, the train will be tested.
The first domestically built and produced hydrogen-fueled train will be introduced by December 2023, according to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav and these trains would run on heritage routes.
Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister, declared that this was the greatest allocation in history and that it was more than nine times the amount set aside in 2013–14. According to the budget papers, the proposed allocation for railways in 2023–24 is about 72% more than the budget estimate and 48% higher than the revised estimate (RE) for the current fiscal year.
The passenger amenities budget has seen the biggest rise, which includes station renovations. Compared to the RE of Rs. 824 crore for the current fiscal year, Rs. 13, 350 crore have been set aside for this in 2023–24. According to Vaishnav, 1,275 stations are being renovated as part of the "Amrit Bharat Station" initiative, and work is already beginning to renovate the stations in Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad.
The primary focus of Railways will be the introduction of Vande Bharat trains, H-fueled trains, and contemporary waggons for freight operations. The manufacture and design of Vande Bharat, which aims to travel shorter distances between cities, will be finished this year, according to Railway Minister.
Amounting to Rs. 30,749 crore in 2023–24, which is an increase of Rs. 24,093 crore in RE for the purpose of doubling the number of railway lines. According to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, electrification and track construction are given first priority.