September 24, 2017 5:08:42 am
The Indian Railways has started an exercise to cut down running time of over 500 long-distance trains by up to 120 minutes. The new travel timetable is to be effective December. A detailed plan is ready and will be incorporated in the ‘Trains at a Glance’ timetable to be released November 30, Railway ministry officials have told The Indian Express.
Through a mix of measures that are being collectively called “innovative timetabling”, popular trains are set to knock off minutes stretching up to over an hour-and-half coupled with increased speed, following one of the major decisions taken by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month.
Around 50 ordinary mail/express trains will get upgraded to “superfast” services after completion of an internal audit of running time of around 700 trains. The exercise started two weeks ago following Goyal’s directive. Incidentally, increasing the average speed of existing trains to bring down journey time is one measure which the Prime Minister’s Office has been pursuing with the Railways for the last three years.
The overall upgrade affects trains to and from almost all states across India. For example, the popular Hyderabad-Tirupati Express, running 733 km over 14 hours, will now take 100 minutes less. The Bhopal-Jodhpur Express will reach 95 minutes early. The 2,330-km journey on the Guwahati-Indore Special will be 115 minutes shorter. The Ghazipur-Bandra Terminus Express will complete its 1929-km journey 95 minutes earlier. As it turned out during the exercise, the longer the journey, the higher the scope for time-reduction.
Hundreds of long halts allotted to over 700 popular trains will be shortened by varying minutes. Several halts, where footfalls and ticket sales have been found to be next to nil, are being shed. In long distance trains, the time for engine reversal, which currently takes 30-55 minutes, has been brought down to around 20 minutes or less, as per the plan on paper.
In a number of sections, infrastructure upgrades in the last three years — like automatic signalling, emergence of a third line, etc — have raised maximum permissible speeds. The speed of trains in these sections have been recalibrated in the new plan. Similarly, there exist trains whose maximum speed has been kept on the lower side because they have been running on the older variety of rolling stock. It was found that several of these trains now run with modern Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches that allow 130 kmph top speed. This has been rectified in the charting.
Across the network, thousands of temporary speed restrictions have been identified – these had been granted in the past over and above the norm of six minutes per 100 km. In the new timetable, most are being brought down to meet the norm, getting rid of excess delays. Many permanent speed restrictions are being reviewed.
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