Indian Railways To Reduce Speed Of Select Vande Bharat, Gatiman Express Trains Amid Safety Concerns

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 27, 2024, 03:16 PM | Updated 03:15 PM IST

A Vande Bharat Express train.
A Vande Bharat Express train.

In a move aimed at enhancing safety measures, Indian Railways has decided to reduce the speed of several premium trains, including the Vande Bharat and Gatiman Express, from the current 160 kmph to 130 kmph on select routes.

This decision comes amidst growing concerns over railway safety following recent accidents across the country.

The proposed reduction in speed aims to ensure safer operations, particularly on routes where the Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) has faced operational challenges, as highlighted by recent incidents.

The decision follows a proposal from Northern Railway since November 2023, which cited either eliminating TPWS or reducing speeds to 130 kmph due to maintenance issues.

According to The Hindu report, the North Central Railway has formally requested the Railway Board to lower the speeds of specific trains.

These include Train No 12050/12049 Delhi-Jhansi-Delhi Gatiman Express, Train No 22470/22469 Delhi-Khajuraho-Delhi Vande Bharat Express, Train No 20172/20171 Delhi-Rani Kamalapati-Delhi Vande Bharat Express, and Train No 12002/12001 Delhi-Rani Kamalapati-Delhi Shatabdi Express.

However, Satyaki Raghunath, a key figure in the development of the Vande Bharat Express, expressed reservations about the decision, emphasising that slowing down trains from 160 kmph to 130 kmph may not effectively address safety concerns.

He pointed out that recent accidents, including the Kanchanjunga Express collision in West Bengal, involved lower-speed trains, questioning the efficacy of the speed reduction strategy.

Moreover, concerns were raised over the readiness of railway infrastructure to support higher speeds safely. Despite having advanced rolling stock capable of 160 kmph operations for two decades, operational constraints on tracks have limited their utilisation.

As Indian Railways navigates these challenges, the debate continues on striking a balance between operational efficiency and passenger safety in one of the world's largest railway networks.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.