Railways aims for Mumbai-Delhi in 10 hrs

To pump Rs 14k cr to cut travel time on 2 key routes under vital plan

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Railways aims for Mumbai-Delhi in 10 hrs
Boosting infra to ramp up speeds on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes, which account for a chunk of the rail traffic, will take 4-5 years

The railways is on track to shave five hours off the travel time on the busy Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes in its bid to make high-speed trains a reality.

This is hoped to be achieved by pumping nearly Rs 14,000 crore into the heart of rail infrastructure — tracks and signals on the routes — over the next four years.

As of now, the speediest train on the 1,483-km Delhi-Mumbai stretch takes 15.5 hours to finish a trip, while that on the 1,525-km Delhi-Howrah route takes 17 hours.

The upgrade aims to bring this down to 10 hours (at a cost of Rs 6,806 crore) and 12 hours (Rs 6,684 crore), respectively, by allowing trains to zip at 160 kilometres an hour.

Ramping up speed is one of the 11 points in a key proposal drawn up by the Railway Board in its 100-day action plan to modernise the national carrier. Officials said they intend to obtain approvals for all the proposals on the document within 100 days.

"The proposal has been sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for approval. Once we get their nod, we can initiate the work. It will take 4-5 years for a full upgrade," said a senior railway official.

The two popular routes contribute 30 per cent of total train passenger traffic and 20 per cent of freight traffic.

As part of the plan, tracks on the routes will be replaced with better ones, signalling systems upgraded, bridges strengthened, level crossings eliminated and other technical enhancements done.

The railways is also looking to augment the signalling system. "We will be carrying out trials of European Train Control System on four locations across the country spanning 150-200 km," he said.

The new system will enhance line capacity by 46-48 per cent, improve punctuality and provide technological aid to avert accidents.

"The improvements will result in more services on tracks without compromising safety. But unless freight trains are shifted, investing in infrastructure will not yield results," said Subodh Jain, former Railway Board member.

Revving Up The Railways

A bird’s eye-view of railways’ 11-point action plan to modernise train travel

  • Tech revamp by paperless ticketing 
  • Rationalising fares by doing away with subsidy
  • Eliminating level-crossings with bridges, underbridges  
  • Raising travel speeds
  • Restructuring rail hierarchy 
  • Pvt passenger train operators to run 2 trains 
  • Corporatisation of Railways’ production units
  • Digital railway corridors with 10 MHz spectrum for improving safety
  • Advance signalling system 
  • Redeveloping 50 stations 
  • WiFi at 6,485 rail stations
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