Railways to begin efforts to increase speed of Kalka-Shimla trains

AMBALA: Next week, the Indian Railways’s research and development wing will begin efforts to increase the speed of trains on Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge route from the present 25 kmph to 35 kmph, officials said.

This is the first time the railways is trying to bump up the speed on the route, which will reduce the journey time between the two stations by at least an hour.

“An RDSO (Research Development and Standard Organisation) team will come here for trial next week and give us their  suggestions. Based on their inputs, we will decide whether to increase the speed on the route,” said D C Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala.

At present, trains cover the 95.5-km distance in 5.30 hours, by road the journey takes 4.30 hours.

Many tourists prefer to take the road because of the journey time, officials said.

Railways is keen to increase the speed to 50 kmph and as of now the target is 35 kmph.

The problem, officials said, is that the route has 102 tunnels, 889 bridges, and 913 curves, many of which are at a radius of 48-120 degrees, making it difficult for trains to gain speed, officials said.

To increase speed, RDSO needs to improve the curves, replace old rails with new ones.

“We are likely to increase the speed in phases, beginning with a bump of 2 kmph till we are able to successfully reach 35 kmph,” said Sharma.