The railways is planning to introduce a brand new and faster Rajdhani Express on the Mumbai-Delhi line, the third Rajdhani train on the route, in the next few months, senior officials said today. The new train, likely to be launched by the Diwali this year, will cover the distance between Bandra (in Mumbai) to Nizamuddin station (in Delhi) in 13 hours, officials said. Presently, the route is served by two Rajdhani Express trains– the August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani. Both of them take more than 15 hours to cover the distance between the national capital and the financial capital of the country.
While the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours 05 minutes to travel a distance of 1,377 km at an average speed of 80 kmph, the Mumbai Central-New Delhi (or just Mumbai Rajdhani, as it is often called) train takes around 15 hours 35 minutes, at an average speed of 89 kmph, to travel 1386 km. Neither of the two halts at Bandra.
“The trial run (for the new train) will start in a couple of days. We are using the existing 24-coach Mumbai Rajdhani with two engines to see if we can make the journey shorter by a few hours. We are using Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches,” said a senior official.
Alternatively, sources indicate, the railways could introduce the new Rajdhani with 14 coaches and one engine to ramp up the speed, and then determine which of the two is the better option. LHB coaches are of a superior design that reduces the chance of derailment and mitigates the possibility of grievous injury or death in case of accidents. These coaches have anti-climbing features and provision of superior braking.
The Mumbai Rajdhani as of now has a sanctioned speed of 130 kmph. However, because of the numerous curves and speed restrictions on the route, its average speed comes down to about 89 kmph. The railways is hoping to increase it to 90-95 kmph, sources said. They said that LHB coaches, which are designed to run at a top speed of over 150 kmph, will be able to make the 13-hour cut-off if the current six halts of the Mumbai Rajdhani were to be brought down to three or two. While the effort is on to increase the average speed, the maximum speed of the new Rajdhani is likely to be maintained at 130 kmph.
The Delhi-Mumbai line is important for the railways as the route, once championed mostly by business travellers, has been losing passengers to airlines. This route is also one of the two to be developed in to special corridors with semi-high-speed services.