In a railway network, the average running speed of the train depends on number of factors like structure of the track, signalling systems, motive power, network congestion, rolling stock etc. Few of the foreign railway system, such as Japanese Shinkansen and the French TGV system have designated high-speed network railway lines with a maximum speed of over 300Kmph. With a diverse structure comprising freight trains and passenger trains running on same tracks, Indian Railways utilizes very high level of capacity. The average speed of premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Vande Bharat was more than 70 Kmph, during the 2019-20 financial year. In the same financial year, average speed of Superfast trains was above 55 kmph, Express services was above 50 Kmph and the goods trains was of 24 Kmph. However, the average speed of freight trains rose to 46.71 Kmph during the current financial year, i.e. 2020-21.
Indian Railways has introduced several steps to upgrade the infrastructure, modernise the rolling stock and streamline operations in order to increase train speeds and ensure the timely running of trains, including freight trains. The blueprint in order to increase the speeds of Indian Railways trains is as follows:
– Increasing track speeds to 130 Kmph on trunk roads.
– Improving the speed and diagonal capacity of the Golden Quadrilateral to 160 Kmph. 160 Kmph projects are already approved for the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah sectors.
– Improved production of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches with Maximum Permissible Speed of 160 Kmph and discontinuance of production of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) concept coaches with Maximum Permissible speed of 110 Kmph.
– Introducing advanced signalling system such as Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) etc.
– In order to remove level crossing barriers, rapid elimination of Permanent Speed Restrictions, construction of Road Over Bridges and Road Under Bridges.
– Replacing conventional trains with Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMUs).
– Proper powering of trains, particularly goods trains
– Zero Based Time Tabling to eliminate time table inefficiencies, standardised maintenance and traffic allowances allocation, rail running compaction and building separate freight corridors to increase freight train speed.
In a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha, the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, provided these details.
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