Railways plans faster trains: Travelling Delhi-Mumbai may take four hours less

NEW DELHI: The travel time between Delhi and Mumbai could soon be cut by three hours as the railways is working to run the elite Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains at speeds of 160-200 km per hour. This means the 17-hour journey between the two metros will be down to 14 hours while travel time between Delhi and Chandigarh will be reduced by an hour.

With the railways unable to fund capital-intensive bullet trains, the state-owned transporter is working on operating semi-high speed trains with marginal improvisation to existing infrastructure.

“A large amount of money is required to achieve speeds of over 300 kmph. We have decided to run trains at 160-200 kmph as the cost will be much lower,” railway board chairman Arunendra Kumar said.

The maximum speed of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains now range between 130-150 kmph.

Travelling Delhi-Mumbai may be reduced to 14 hours

The travel time between Delhi and Mumbai could soon be cut by three hours as the railways is working to run the elite Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains at speeds of 160-200 km per hour. This means the 17-hour journey between the two metros will be down to 14 hours while travel time between Delhi and Chandigarh will be reduced by one hour.

The maximum speed of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains now range between 130-150 kmph.

With the railways not able to fund capital-intensive bullet trains, the state-owned transporter is working on operating semi-high speed trains at 160-200 kmph with marginal improvisation to the existing infrastructure.

“As huge money is required to achieve speeds of more than 300 kmph, we have decided to run trains at 160-200 kmph as the cost will be much lower,” railway board chairman Arunendra Kumar said. “This will help railways cut down travel time for premier trains between major stations,” he added.

To begin with, Kumar said semi-high speed trains will be run on an experimental basis to connect cities 500-700 km apart. These trains could be run on the Delhi-Bhopal, Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Chandigarh routes to check if such speeds could be achieved.

Kumar said these trains would be run at higher speeds with the existing locomotives, modern LHB coaches and on the same tracks with minor modifications by studying high speed technology related to bogies, signaling system, wheel sets and brake systems.

“We are studying train dynamics which is related to air pressure while high speed trains cross each other or enter a tunnel,” he said.

While railways has not worked out the exact cost and timeline for the project, Kumar said the semi-high speed trains would start running very soon. “As we are using the same loco, same track, same coaches with minor modifications, the cost will be much less,” he said, adding that there will be some expenses which have not been finalized yet.

“We may have to fence tracks at a few places where cattle movements are reported. There will be training and guidelines for drivers, station masters and guards regarding safety requirements. Some modification in signaling system would be required,” Kumar said.

The chairman allayed fears that increasing the speed of these elite trains on the same tracks would delay other trains, arguing that this would require mere adjustment in the time-table. He said the system will ensure track clearances for 25 km stretches on the route of the semi-high speed train and that would ensure smooth operations for other trains.

To explore low cost solutions, railways will soon organize a global conference on high-speed rail travel.

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