Soon, trains may travel from Delhi to Mum­bai in 12 hours

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Sri­nand Jha sri­nand­jha@hindustantimes.com

SPEED­ING UP Rlys plans to make 2 lines In­dia’s fastest with trains that can reach 200km/h

Later this month, In­dian Rail­ways will pro­pose re­duc­ing the min­i­mum travel time of the Delhi-Mum­bai and Delhi-Howrah lines from 17 hours to 12.

The plan would make each line the fastest in In­dia, run­ning at top speeds of 200 kilo­me­tres per hour. The Ga­ti­maan, which runs from Delhi to Agra, is cur­rently num­ber one with a max­i­mum speed of 160 km/h.

The av­er­age speed of many In­dian trains is slower by over 100 km/h. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity, the premier Ra­jd­hani trains cur­rently av­er­age around 75 km/h; the preva­lent Ex­press and Mail trains trun­dle along at 52 km/h; and freight trains are not even half as fast as that, av­er­ag­ing only 22 km/h.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the pro­posal of the new plan is tak­ing the of­fi­cial form of a cab­i­net note. In the past, hun­dreds of projects have been an­nounced in rail­way bud­get speeches but have lan­guished with­out ap­proval by the cab­i­net. An es­ti­mated 394 rail projects worth nearly five lakh crore are pend­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Rail­ways Min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new plan will be­gin in Jan­uary 2018 and take two to three years. An of­fi­cial who was not au­tho­rized to speak to the me­dia reck­oned that the project will cost ₹18,163 crore. The Rail­ways will fo­cus on im­prov­ing the elec­tri­cal sys­tems that di­rect trains and on civil en­gi­neer­ing projects such as the lift­ing of tracks and the con­struc­tion of new fences.

Ul­ti­mately, the govern­ment hopes to run faster trains through­out the ‘Golden Quadri­lat­eral’, which also in­cludes the Delhi-Chen­nai and Mum­baiKolkata lines.

Of the 9,100 kilo­me­ters on the Golden Quadri­lat­eral, the tracks along 6,400 kilo­me­ters (70% of the to­tal) do not have the ca­pac­ity to run trains at 130 km/h. Speed re­stric­tions are in ef­fect at 730 lo­ca­tions. These stretches have 2,736 level cross­ings. “We are work­ing at elim­i­nat­ing these ob­sta­cles,” said a min­istry of­fi­cial .

Britain has had trains go­ing 200 km/h since 1976, and France is ex­pect­ing this sum­mer to start run­ning trains that hit and go above 300 km/h. The fastest com­mer­cial train in the world, the Shang­hai Ma­glev, tops out at 430km/h.

De­spite the con­sid­er­able size and im­por­tance of the rail­ways in In­dia, they have been un­able to keep up with the stan­dards set by some other Asian na­tions and by Europe.

HT FILE

Many of the trains in the In­dian rail­way sys­tem are slow. The premier Ra­jd­hani trains cur­rently av­er­age around 75 km/h.

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