Rajdhani rides could be 30% faster, travel from Delhi to Mumbai in 12 hours

Rajdhani rides could be 30% faster, travel from Delhi to Mumbai in 12 hours

Trains from Delhi to Mumbai and Howrah will become the fastest in India.

Later this month, Indian Railways will propose reducing the minimum travel time of the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah lines from 17 hours to 12. The plan would make each line the fastest in India, running at top speeds of 200 kilometres per hour. The Gatimaan, which runs from Delhi to Agra, is currently number one with a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

The average speed of many Indian trains is slower by over 100 km/h. According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the premier Rajdhani trains currently average around 75 km/h; the prevalent Express and Mail trains trundle along at 52 km/h; and freight trains are not even half as fast as that, averaging only 22 km/h.

Significantly, the proposal of the new plan is taking the official form of a cabinet note. In the past, hundreds of projects have been announced in railway budget speeches but have languished without approval by the cabinet. An estimated 394 rail projects worth nearly five lakh crore are pending.

According to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, implementation of the new plan will begin in January 2018 and take two to three years. An official who was not authorized to speak to the media reckoned that the project will cost Rs 18,163 crore. The Railways will focus on improving the electrical systems that direct trains and on civil engineering projects such as the lifting of tracks and the construction of new fences.

Ultimately, the government hopes to run faster trains throughout the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, which also includes the Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Kolkata lines. Of the 9,100 kilometers on the Golden Quadrilateral, the tracks along 6,400 kilometers (70% of the total) do not have the capacity to run trains at 130 km/h. Speed restrictions are in effect at 730 locations. These stretches have 2,736 level crossings. “We are working at eliminating these obstacles,” said a ministry official .

Britain has had trains going 200 km/h since 1976, and France is expecting this summer to start running trains that hit and go above 300 km/h. The fastest commercial train in the world, the Shanghai Maglev, tops out at 430km/h. Despite the considerable size and importance of the railways in India, they have been unable to keep up with the standards set by some other Asian nations and by Europe.

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