Hit by a series of major train accidents, Railways is now firming up a Rs 70,000-crore safety plan for speedy installation of anti-collision devices, including upgrading of signal and telecommunication and mechanised maintenance of tracks.
Besides, the ambitious plan also envisages induction of crash-worthy LHB coaches and locomotives as a long-term measure and entails speedy installation of train protection warning system (TPWS) and elimination of unmanned level crossings to do away with mishaps on the tracks.
"The safety plan will be submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a generous grant from the general exchequer outside the Rail Budget," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The last few years have seen minimal investment in the safety infrastructure due to poor financial health of the Railways.
Currently, the Railways has vacancies for 1,26,044 posts in the safety category and 14,896 for unmanned level crossings across the country.
As per the safety plan, all electric locomotives are to be equipped with Vigilance Control Device (VCD) to prevent accidents in case the driver is incapacitated during the run.
So far only 749 locomotives out of 4,147 electric ones have been equipped with VCDs.