Off the Track

The government this week agreed to acquire fifteen new diesel engines and 100 coaches to help improve the Railway Authority’s commuter service. The government this week agreed to acquire fifteen new diesel engines and 100 coaches to help improve the Railway Authority’s commuter service. A government spokesperson on Thursday said the cabinet approved the deal as it is an urgent need to the commuter service’s operations.

The railway however urgently needs sleepers, signaling systems and repairs to its track before along with a fare hike to recoup its running costs.

A recommendation to double the current fare and a proposal to introduce a zonal pricing is with the government awaiting clearance.

In addition, the commuter service needs a hike in its working capital to pay for the additional cost of running the new acquisitions when they arrive.

Railway officials were not available for comment but in an earlier interview said fares need to at least double just to compensate for the fuel price hikes since the last fare revision in 2001 when diesel retailed at Rs. 26 a litre.

The last fuel hike in early May alone pushed rai