Jun 6, 2015

What might hinder speed of Gatiman Express

We all know that trials have been conducted for the run of India's first semi high speed train: "Gatiman Express". It is expected to skyrocket between Delhi and Agra at max speed of 160 kph, covering the distance between two stations within 3 hours.

While the train will move at speeds above 150 kph on most of the route, there is one section where even India's first semi high speed train will have to put breaks on its speed. This section lies between Delhi and Mathura. From the cabin of Faridabad junction to Asaoti railway station trains are not allowed to run at 160 kph. There is speed limitation. Train are allowed to run only at speeds below 120 kph.

gatiman express train running at fast speed
station master waves green flag to Gatiman express as it
moves past Mathura railway station at top speed.
Actually railway has a working timetable for the trains on all routes. It is different from the train timetable or trains at a glance, that passengers refer to for finding schedule and timings. This timetable has entries which clearly shows what is the maximum speed a train can touch while it is running on a certain section of a route. On Delhi-Mathura route there are currently 41 trains whose speed falls within 120-150 kph range, but even these trains put brakes on velocity when they are operating on route between Faridabad-Asaoti railway stations in Haryana.

Indian Railways is actually now planning to introduce new working timetable for trains from October'2015. With entire track between Delhi and Agra is solidified to handle trains running at top speeds of 200 kph, the restriction on speed in above mentioned section is likely to be lifted. But if it is not, passengers would notice clear fall in train speed while traveling.

Apart from one section of route, railway has almost cleared every hindrance that will affect the speed of the trains. Most signal points and curves on railway track have been cleared. Even 35 year old signalling system between Tughlakabad and Okhla railway station is updated to support the faster movements of trains.

As per working timetable no. 88 of Delhi division of railway, following speed restrictions are in place:

  • Top speed of 120 kph between Tughlakabad and Faridabad railway stations.
  • Top speed of 120 kph betweeb Faridabad junction and Asaoti railway station.
  • Top speed restricted of 15 kph near Ballabgarh Railway yard.
  • Top speed restricted of 60 kph between Okhla and Tughlakabad stations.
You must be wondering: "What are the reasons behind these speed restrictions?"

If you have traveled to Delhi from Agra, and assuming that you are not a train sleeper, you must have noticed the population around the above mentioned speed restricted areas. There are plenty of illegal colonies, animals wandering on railway tracks, and crowds crossing railway tracks to reach their destination via short cuts. All this means that the frequency of accidents occurring around these areas is very high. Thus to minimize such accidents, railway from long time have speed restrictions in place on trains while crossing these sections.

One hopes that by the time Gatiman Express is ready to go on its first run - all these restrictions are clear, so that one can see India's first semi high speed train at its top speed all the way.


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