The Railways Ministry is set to conduct its first trial of a semi-high speed train on the Delhi-Agra route on Thursday, five days before the Rail Budget is to be announced.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), who must approve the arrangements for increasing the speed of the train, will be present for the trial or the ‘confirmatory run’. Along with him, the Divisional Railway Managers of Agra and Delhi will also be present.
“Arrangements have been made to achieve the top speed of 160 kmph. Now with this run we need to see the behaviour of the rake in that speed. It is a mandatory process,” Anurah Sachan, Divisional Railway Manager (Delhi)told The Indian Express.
The test train, made of coaches used in the Bhopal Shatabdi express, is expected to reduce travel time between Delhi and Agra from 126 minutes (presently by Bhopal Shatabdi) to 90 minutes. It will be pulled by an electric locomotive which can go up to 200 kmph. Parts of the track will also have to be fenced, work that is expected to be complete in about three months.
The idea behind the project is to show that Indian Railways can run semi-high speed trains within the existing infrastructure with some alterations and minimum cost. The Railways plans to commercially launch the service in October-November and the project is expected to find a mention in the Rail Budget.
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To reach the high speeds, the train will have to be smaller, with 10 passenger coaches instead of 14. This raised concerns that since it will carry fewer passengers, the Railways may have to charge more, but the Railway Board has not finalised anything. Talks have been held on pricing and sou-rces say the service could cha-rge premium rates eventually.