New Delhi: With the first bullet train project schedule for commissioning in 2023, Indian Railways is now working on two busy sections Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata for running semi-high speed train to increase maximum speed to 160 kmph from the existing 130 kmph and reduce journey time by over five hours.
A proposal is being worked out in the Railway Board to increase speed on these two sections with basic infrastructure changes and less investment. Railway is already carrying out trials of Spanish train Talgo at some sections and it is also proposed to conduct trails on Delhi-Mumbai next month.
“The date of commissioning of bullet train is 2023 which is on Mumbai-Ahemdabad section and other corridors will come after that. It was felt that speed needs to be increased on some of the busiest sections and two sections are being explored for running the semi-high speed train by 2018-19,” said sources in the ministry.
A Japanese company had conducted a feasibility study on Delhi-Mumbai section in 2013 and it was estimated that Rs 15,500 crore would be needed to upgrade the track for running semi-high speed.
But if trials of Talgo trains are successful, it can be game changer as the company claims that these coaches can run at 160 kmph on the existing rails without any infrastructure changes. The cost of a Talgo coach is Rs 5 crore compared to Rs 23 crore per coach proposed by the Japanese company and half that of train sets, which railways is planning to buy. Talgo coaches require minimal infrastructure upgrade.
The Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express runs at an average speed of 85 km per hour while the Talgo train can maintain an average speed of 125 km per hour. Talgo envisages the journey between Delhi and Mumbai can be completed in about 12 hours as compared to 17 hours at present. The Talgo coaches can run on curved rails without decelerating speed. Besides reducing travel time, Talgo’s lighter trains consume 30 percent less energy.
The Railways has set up a Mobility Directorate to work on strategies to increase speed of trains. Gatimaan Express – India’s first semi-high speed that clocks 160 kmph, was launched on the Delhi-Agra route in April.