Faster Trains: Piyush Goyal’s mega push to lumbering Railways

NEW DELHI: Slow and late trains will soon become a thing of the past. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has planned a multi-pronged scheme to give India’s lumbering trains a mega push. From today, a new timetable comes into force, which cuts travel time of nearly 500 trains by 15 minutes to three hours. As many as 65 trains on Northern Railway and 51 express and 36 passenger trains running under the Southern Railway will run faster in the new time table.

In East Coast Railway, 37 express and 19 local passenger trains have been speeded up.

Does Goyal have a magic wand to speed up India’s notoriously slow trains? Actually, fast trains will be the result of several small and big steps taken over time and being implemented while many plans are in the pipeline.

Infrastructure upgrade: The railways has taken various steps to upgrade infrastructure like doubling of the rail lines and replacing old tracks. It has also developed many stations to increase their train-receiving capacity. A large number of stations can receive only a small number of trains at a time. Other trains are stopped before that station until the trains at the station move out.

Tightening halt times: The public transporter has tightened the timetable by reducing the halt time of trains at stations. Moreover, the stations with less footfall will receive fewer trains.

Automatic signaling: Automatic signaling increases the number of trains between two blocks at a given time. Earlier only one train used to run between two stations. Now with automatic signaling, as many as six trains can run between two stations depending upon the number of signals or blocks. By increasing the number of trains running on the same track, automatic signaling reduces delays.

New coaches and locomotives: The railways has now introduced Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches which are lighter than traditional coaches and allow a 130 kmph top speed. Its new locomotives too have higher speed. They can run at 130 to 150 kmph. Many trains which used to run at 110 kmph will now run at 130 kmph.

The German help: Ministry of Railways has signed a deal with German Railways to make country’s existing rail corridors semi high-speed. The semi high-speed trains will run at 200 km per hour. German Railways will carry out of a feasibility study on existing 643 km Chennai-Kazipet corridor.

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