THE HIGH-SPEED Spanish Talgo train has succeeded on major counts at time trials between Mumbai and Delhi, reveals the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) report on the trials. The report shows Talgo closing in on the targeted 12-hour time span for the journey between the two cities.
The trials were to test Talgo’s capability of covering the Delhi-Mumbai distance in 12 hours, down from 16 hours presently taken by the Rajdhani express. Six trials were conducted between Mumbai-Delhi of the Talgo train which appeared in Mumbai for the first time on August 2.
According to the report, Talgo came almost close to 12 hours and a little more in its three trials conducted while it took less than 12 hours in two time trials. The report mentions that including stoppage time at scheduled stations and other time loss, Talgo was still able to match or come closer to its scheduled time as per notifications.
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Except for one occurrence where there was delay caused due to heavy rains in Gujarat, Talgo has managed to match time specifications its set for each trial. The RDSO report mentions its conduct suitable for the Indian railway tracks system. “We informed the railways of a green signal for bringing Talgo into the system,” said senior Board official who was also the nodal officer for this trials.
Talgo completed its trials at speeds of 130, 140 and 150 kilometer per hour (kmph) in its respective trials between Mumbai-Delhi. Among them, it took 12 hours at a speed of 140 kmph, 11 hours, 16 minutes at a speed of 150 kmp and 11 hours and 39 minutes at a speed of 140 kmph to complete the distance, report states. “Discussions after finalizing the RDSO report reveals that Talgo succeeded on account of its acceleration levels also. Lower the accelerations levels, smoother the journey is. The trials have proved that at various speeds, the train was able to maintain speed levels and ensure a comfortable journey with minimum jerks,” a senior Western Railway official said.
However, officials raised doubts over selection of Talgo on an immediate basis considering the large number of high-speed rail vendors in the market. “The Railway Board is yet to decide whether it will float tenders or get into a public partnership model or ask for a joint venture with Talgo. What qualifies Talgo over other models is its performance report and its efficacy to run on Indian tracks at the same speed and in the same schedule,” the official added.
Officials said Talgo’s light-weight coaches and its ability to effectively run on Indian tracks without much modifications qualifies it better over the competition involved. “Talgo, on a voluntary basis, approached railways and agreed for showcasing its performance through trials. The model brought worked smoothly on the traffic corridor without any upgradation in the existing system. Upon that, its optimum technology also helps maintains its average speed and lessens the time between the two cities, “ the official added.
Officials from Talgo explained the train’s capacity to increase average speed while keeping its maximum speed at a lower level. “As Mumbai-Delhi was a difficult corridor considering the security restrictions, a trial at a speed of 180 kmph was not welcomed. However, we were still able to cover the distance at a faster rate as Talgo’s average speed is better in comparison to other trains. Its lighter coaches and technology makes it suitable causing lesser damage to tracks and train as a whole,” said Subrat Nath, Director India and Asia Pacific at Talgo.
The company has offered options to Railways as far as manufacturing the coaches is concerned. It has informed them of a year’s time to manufacture more trains as per recent technology standards. Talgo has also hinted at requiring more time if railways insists on ensuring its manufacturing in the country.
“If open tenders are floated and Talgo qualifies, then it will at least take three years for the train to reach India. However, the Talgo that will be made then will be apt for Indian track standards. We will at least be able to make 26 coaches with a capacity of 1000 passengers for each rake, “ Nath added. Officials from Talgo refrained from revealing the manufacturing cost involved for making the rakes. Railway officials confirmed that though trials were conducted between Mumbai-Delhi,Talgo can run on other routes considering Board’s requirements and orders.