Mumbai-New Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad travel time could reduce significantly as railway minister Suresh Prabhu has announced plans to increase trains’ speed from 110kmph now to up to 200kmph.
Prabhu said the speed of nine railway corridors will be increased from 110kmph and 130kmph to 160kmph and 200kmph, respectively, so that inter-metro journey on the Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai routes can be completed overnight.
A senior official said, “As of now, Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani train takes 16 hours. The speed of the 160 kmph-200 kmph will bring down travel time by two to four hours.” In other words, it will shorten to 12-13 hours. Mumbai-Ahmedabad journey will shorten by two hours to around five hours from seven now.
Passengers have welcomed the move. Sanket Mishra, who regularly commutes by Rajdhani, said, “A train leaving late in the evening and reaching at dawn will definitely save time. In fact, this train will even be preferred by air travellers.”
Bhavesh Parikh, who often commutes between Mumbai-Ahmedabad, said, “A saving of an hour-and-a-half to two hours, especially for a person who takes a day train like Shatabdi or Double-Decker, is good enough.”
Increasing speed will involve upgrade of tracks as well as improved methods of track-recording, monitoring and maintenance.
Significant infrastructure changes will involve installing a train protection warning system to prevent signal passing at danger (SPAD). Also, cattle guard design will have to be changed, if necessary.
Subways will have to be provided below tracks. Fencing is a must.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, in his budget speech, also proposed introduction of modern train systems called train sets. These will be similar to bullet trains in design and can run on existing tracks without an engine to haul them. Prabhu said: “This is being introduced with the purpose of providing a superior riding experience and around 20% savings in journey time.” The first set could run in the next two years.