In a radical departure from his predecessors, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
did not announce a single new train or extension of services in his budget
for 2015-16. However, in a move that will likely go down well with passengers, he also did not increase passenger fares.
This is perhaps the first time in many years that an incumbent railway minister has not announced any new train.
The minister however assured his colleagues in Parliament that he will take requests from all MPs over the next few days and review them before announcing any new train.
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Annual passenger capacity of Indian railways
is projected to increase from 8.35 billion in 2014-15 to 8.60 billion in 2015-16 and freight capacity
is expected to increase from 1.10 to 1.18 billion tonnes during the same period.
Prabhu also announced a slew of passenger facilities including mobile application for complaints, water vending machines in major stations, CCTVs cameras in some long-distance trains and EMUs.
Freight rates were however hiked in general barring high-speed diesel which was lowered by 1%. Rates were hiked by 0.8% for LPG, kerosene, 0.8% for iron & steel; 2.7% for cement, 10% for urea and 6.3% for coal.
The railway minister also announced that surplus coaches from trains which are running on low capacity, will be rationalised and added on lines which have high density.