Trains like Delhi Metro on intercity rail routes likely

NEW DELHI: In the new year the intercity rail travel could be faster and comfortable with Railways considering a proposal of using train-sets or electric multiple units similar to those used in Delhi Metro.

The national transporter is considering these trains as other alternatives such as Bullet trains or running semi-high speed trains at 200kmph by upgrading tracks are highly capital intensive.

As per calculations, railways would be able to cut travel time by three hours and thirty five minutes on a 1,440km route — New Delhi-Howrah segment — by using the new technology. In other words, these trains, which are already being used in the metro services, would help to save travel time by 17.5% as they have higher acceleration and deceleration which would increase average train speed.

The cut in journey time was calculated at maximum permissible speed of 130kmph and it could be further reduced if the permissible limit is raised to 160kmph. As of now, the trains in the intercity segment are hauled by locomotives. Trains currently used in elite Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express can go up to 150kmph, but the average speed continues to be 90kmph as there are several speed restrictions.

China is also using train sets for overnight services with sleeper coaches. These trains would be energy-efficient, cost-effective equipped with modern technological solutions for increasing average train speeds. The cost of imported train sets is 8-9 crore per car which means a train with 21 cars would cost Rs 175 crore.

At present, Rajdhani with 21 car loco with 17 passenger carrying coaches, two power cars and two pantry cars costs Rs 75 crore. An official claimed that the incremental money(around Rs 100 crore) spent on train sets can be recovered in under five years, even if entire train sets are imported.