Former Board Member ‘signals’ pitfalls for running Highspeed Trains

There are 495 speed-killing curves on the tracks between the Mumbai and Delhi section, Chandrika Prasad opines!

Mumbai: The Railways is upbeat about running high-speed trains like the Spanish Talgo and Rajdhani between Mumbai and Delhi at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour (kmph), but Chandrika Prasad, a former Railway Board member, has warned of pitfalls for running trains at high speed (160-200kmph) on the Mumbai-Delhi section. In the latest issue of a railway industry magazine, Mr Prasad has said that to run high-speed trains, signalling needs to be upgraded. There are 495 speed-killing curves on the tracks between the Mumbai and Delhi section.

Sources also said that Mr Prasad has given suggestions on upgraded signalling to the railway ministry. However, when contacted, Mr Prasad refused to comment on the issue and said, “I have highlighted it in the article. We need to upgrade on the lines of other foreign countries like US, China and European countries who had upgraded their lines before going with running high-speed trains.”

However, Mukul Jain, divisional railway manager, Western Railway, said, “The Railway board has asked to work out on signal upgradation plan for running high-speed trains at 160kmph and we are in the process of preparing the plan.”

Mr Prasad has stated in the article that while driving a train at 180-kmph, the train driver will encounter a signal for less than a minute’s interval. “In addition there are issues relating to speed limits on curves, permanent restriction and temporary speed restrictions. Imagine the tremendous strain on the driver’s mind while running his train at such high speed on the Mumbai-Delhi section.”

He points out that signalling modifications should be carried out to provide timely warning for closing of the gates and to road users. The current Indian Railways signal manual does not lay any guidelines on signalling for running high-speed trains.

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