EVEN as the high-speed Spanish Talgo train awaits a green signal from the railway board, Western (WR) Railway authorities have been asked to increase the maximum permissible speed limit on the Mumbai-Delhi route to 160 kilometre per hour (kmph) from the present 130 kmph. This could cut the travel time of Rajdhani Express to 12 hours from 16 hours at present.
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In a letter sent from the board to the Western Railway, the latter has been nominated as the nodal railway authority for the entire Mumbai-Delhi route.
The officials have been asked to look at measures through which they can improve their signalling and traffic system as early as possible.
“Yes, we have received a letter that asks us to improve the overall traffic and signalling system on the Mumbai-Delhi route. For this, fencing of the tracks will have to be strengthened and curves on the track removed. A consolidated proposal will be submitted by us at the end of this month,” said a senior official of the WR.
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This comes after the Talgo train achieved a successful remark from the railway board for its trials, which were conducted on the Mumbai-Delhi route. The train, which completed six trials at varying speeds of 130, 140 and 150 kmph, has been given a green signal from the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), but awaits an approval from the board.
“We consider this to be a good move. If Talgo runs on Mumbai-Delhi routes at a higher permissible speed limit, we can very well increase our average speed and further reduce the distance between the two cities,” said Subrat Nath, Director, India and Asia Pacific at Talgo.
“ If the Talgo could complete the journey in less than 12 hours with more than 60 restrictions in place during the trials, the upgraded system will only make the duration smaller, up to around nine hours,”Nath added.
Along with Mumbai-Delhi, routes between Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Kolkata can also receive a haul in their track and signalling systems and have the permissible speed limit go up to 160 kmph from 130 kmph.
“Improving the overall track and signalling system of the trains could be a boon for any train out of the existing stock we possess. As the tracks are not fit, we have tried to maximise the inputs which could help us extract the full potential out of the system,” said a railway board official.
The official said problems of fencing and smooth track system exist on the Mumbai-Delhi route.
The same was witnessed in some trials of the Talgo, when tracks waterlogged due to heavy rain greeted the train near Vapi on its first arrival in the city. On another occasion, its movement was disrupted by a crowd of cattle .