The high-speed, made-in-Spain Talgo train will reach Mumbai by August 2 for more speed trials on the Delhi-Mumbai route, Western Railway officials confirmed. The trial will involve multiple performance tests of the rake at different speeds to check its smooth running and speed efficiency. The train is likely to reduce travel time between Delhi and Mumbai to almost 12 hours, down from the minimum 16 hours at present.
The train had clocked 180 km per hour (kmph) during its third trial run on the Mathura-Palwal stretch two weeks ago. Officials confirmed that the railways’ Research Designs & Standards Organization (RDSO) will conduct multiple rounds of tests on the train this week, before finalising its suitability for Indian tracks.
The train will leave Delhi on the night of August 1 and reach Mumbai Central station by August 2. After a day of rest, the train will start from Mumbai on August 3 for Delhi, during which a 130-kmph speed trial will be conducted. Post that, the train will again depart from Delhi and reach Mumbai, this time with a speed of 150 kmph.
“The motive of this trial is to check if the train is suitable to Indian tracks on various speed limits. Also, as the ultimate route on which the Talgo will run is between Delhi and Mumbai, qualifying the trials here will be very important,” Saurabh Gupta, Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM), Western Railway, said. Presently, the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express runs at an average speed of 88 km per hour. The Talgo can maintain an average speed of 125 kmph.
Teams from RDSO, Lucknow, Executive Director-Testing Directorate, would also come along with other team of directors and testing engineers to inspect the efficiency of the speed trials.
“We have already received an approval two weeks ago in the form of a Joint Safety Certificate (JSC) to conduct trials of the train between Delhi and Mumbai. Only after our internal teams approve of its running and safety can the testing be done by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), an external body, followed by the Railway Board, which will take the final decision on its service,” Gupta said.
After the speed trials are done, railways will chart out the route design plan of the train. Officials confirmed that its final implementation on the Delhi-Mumbai route will still take time as more trials will be conducted for safety purposes.
“We first need to receive the CRS sanction, after which further decisions on its operational part and commercial aspect need to be taken. We are expecting the train to start before March 2017,” Gupta said.
The Talgo train will replace the existing LHB Coaches of the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi Express if trials are successful.
The 9 Talgo coaches arrived at Mumbai port from Barcelona, Spain around April.
The nine coaches include two executive class cars, four chair cars, a pantry car, a power car and a tail-end coach for staff and equipment, which is almost equivalent to the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi.
It is hauled by a 4,500-HP diesel engine. Its coaches are lightweight and designed to run on curves without decelerating the speed. They also consume 30 per cent less energy than regular Indian Railways trains.
It can run at a top speed of 250 kmph and is integrated with technology to ensure a pleasant journey even when outside temperature crosses 50°C or drops below -20°c.