Indian Railways Puts In Motion An Action Plan To Run Trains At 160 KMPH On Major Trunk Routes
Indian Railways is streamlining operations to increase the speed of trains running on main trunk routes.
Speed is the mantra now as the Indian Railways is going ahead with an action plan to run trains at a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour (KMPH) on main trunk routes across the country to significantly reduce travel time.
In a new paradigm shift, seven high-density routes including Delhi-Guwahati, Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai are going to be decongested enabling passenger-carrying trains to increase the speed to up to 160 km per hour in the next few years.
The other heavy routes are Howrah-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Mumbai and Chennai-Howrah totalling 11,295 km on the Indian rail network.
As part of the capacity enhancement and modernisation of existing rail networks, Indian Railways is carrying out work to reduce congestion on various routes, informed Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman Railway Board (CRB).
Currently, the seven high-density routes are carrying maximum traffic resulting in the slowing down of the freight and passenger trains due to congestion.
"A total of seven routes have been identified as high-density network (HDN), which has a total length of 11,295 km. There is 60 per cent traffic on these routes. Therefore, we are taking steps to reduce traffic on these routes,” CRB said.
The plan envisages shifting of the freight service to dedicated freight corridor (DFC) once it becomes fully operational by 2021 resulting in freeing up the path for speedy run of trains.
In order to expand the capacity, work for electrification and doubling the routes are underway on the high-density path.
According to the timeline, the high-density routes would be ready for running 130 KMPH speed by July 2023 which would be increased to 160 KMPH by 2025.
Increasing the maximum speed will also give further impetus to semi-high speed trains like the Vande Bharata Express. It will allow such trains to unlock their full potential and travel at a speed of 160 KMPH, to ensure passengers have best in class speed and service.
In addition, it has been found that the safer LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches too can be made fit for this speed.
The scope of the project includes fencing, automatic train protection system (ETCS 2/TPWS), mobile train radio communication, and automated and mechanised diagnostic systems, which will considerably enhance safety and reliability. Besides, the policy also requires removal of all level crossings, which are being eliminated otherwise under a separate plan.
The capital expenditure allocation for railways in the budget for financial year 2021 has been pegged at Rs 161,042 crore. “Capex will remain at budget estimates levels, we can also increase it where required,” Yadav said.
Yadav also spoke about the steps to make the process transparent and said that, “general conditions of contract (GCC) thoroughly revised; bonus clause for early completion, EPC standard tender documents, IR-works contract management system an e-portal for handling all works contracts launched, online drawings approval portal (E-DAS) made operational, portal for e-commissioner for railway system sanctions.”
CRB also said steps are being taken to increase freight loading substantially.
“We are talking to stakeholders to see how we can improve freight loading so there is a balance in our revenues. We are looking to rationalise freight in a manner that volumes are increased."
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