Imagine a Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express train that is able to achieve a semi-high speed of 160 kmph! If Modi government is able to implement its new project, then it may be the first big step to turn this dream into a reality in the coming years. According to a senior railway official that Financial Express Online spoke to, a massive Rs 500 crore plan has been approved for fencing as much as 500 kilometres of the over 1,300 km railway tracks on the Delhi-Mumbai route. “The maximum speed that Rajdhani Express trains are able to achieve on the Delhi-Mumbai route is 130 kmph. But that is for very few stretches. Once the fencing is done, then Rajdhani will be able to do 130 kmph on big stretches, hence reducing the overall journey time substantially,” the official said. Eventually the plan is to upgrade the stretch so that even 160 kmph can be achieved consistently over long track lengths.
The official quoted above also said that the fencing will be done in urban belts and areas surrounding them because on these stretches there are maximum chances of human or animal obstructions on the tracks. The Railway Board has already given its nod for the fencing and a survey is being conducted on the same. While the Rajdhani Express between Delhi and Mumbai presently takes around 16 hours, there is a possibility that once 160 kmph speeds can be attained for major stretches, a 12-hour journey may be possible. This would also be crucial for Indian Railways at a time when plans for building the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway are in full swing. The proposed Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will reduce the road travel time between the two big metros to just 12 hours as against 24 hours at present.
Indian Railways is embarking on a gamechanging plan to upgrade the maximum permissible train speed on the Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonal sections to 130 kmph. According to a Railway Board circular that Financial Express Online accessed, it has been noted that the maximum permissible speed on various sections on the important Golden Quadrilateral has not been upgraded to 130 kmph despite introduction of new trains at higher speeds. “You would appreciate that increasing speed of passenger carrying trains is important to reduce travel time and maintain railway’s competitiveness in passenger transportation,” says the Railway Board circular to general managers of various zones.
The respective railway zones have been asked to prepare a plan for raising the maximum permissible speed to 130 kmph for the following routes: New Delhi-Mumbai, New Delhi-Howrah, Nizamuddin-Madras, Mumbai-Kolkata (Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Howrah), Howrah-Chennai, Mumbai-Chennai. This means that Indian Railways passengers can soon expect faster premium trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdis on key routes of Indian Railways.