If you travel by train from New Delhi to Howrah Junction stations it usually takes anywhere between 17 to 25 hrs. Rajdhani express, one of the fastest trains in India in terms of speed, also take about 18 hrs to complete the journey.

Not only Rajdhani all other types of trains run on this popular train route in India. Some of them are mentioned in very popular: Interesting Facts on Train Names article.

But there is a good news for you. The travel time between New Delhi and Howrah is going to get reduced drastically, by up to 5 hrs. Yes, now trains will take about 12 hrs to complete their run on this route which has heavy traffic.

This is going to get possible due to replacement of old mechanical signalling system at Tundla Jn. (an important railway station on Delhi - Howrah Sealdah) route with electronic interlocking system.

The work has been already completed. Interlocking is the technical apparatus which is used to control switches (points), signals and block systems.

manual interlocking in indian railway

All the trains that run between capital of India and howrah/sealdah stations pass through a stretch which is known as Grand Chord route. It is a stretch of 450 Kms in North Central Railway (NCR) zone.

Two lines, Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahbad-Mumbai line are connected by this route. About 53% of train traffic in NCR railway zone pass through this Grand Chord Route.

Basically it is the only link between Sitarampur station in Best Bengal and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction (formerly known as Mughalsarai) in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Coming back to how faster trains will benefit from new signalling system, you need to have an understanding of how manual system works.

You must have seen the levers aside railway tracks and near to where cabins are situated. In manual method, signalman employed by railway, pull these levers to clear the route for the train after getting receipt from the cabin crew.

 It ensures safe dispatch of the train on a particular line.


The manual systems are OK for for stations and routes where hardly 10-20 passenger trains pass by. But when there is a heavy traffic, and Tundla Jn has 613 railway routes combinations, manual system is not that efficient.

 Whole process for dispatch of a single train can take up to 12 minutes, if not more. This is why you must have noticed that lot of trains are halted at outer peripheries of Tundla Jn.

Electronic Interlocking system on the other hand is much more efficient can handle the train dispatch process in 12-15 seconds.

While with manual system only 200 odd passenger trains (which is no less by any stretch of imagination) could be handled in a day, the new electronic interlocking system will allow smooth dispatch of about 250 trains.

There are 5 cabins at Tundla at the moment. Now there will be one centralized power cabin that will reduce train handling time from existing 5-10 minutes to about 30-60 seconds.

 Signalling can now be controlled by a click of mouse on computer. No need for exchange of information among 5 cabins before train is permitted to continue its run.

electronic interlocking system of railway
electronic interlocking can be done using mouse and computer

As a side effect of this development , trains to Agra will also benefit when it comes to covering the distance faster between the stations.

Freight corridor, increase in yard line lengths will allow authorities to better handle freight and passenger trains. This will reduce unnecessary delays and halting at outer signals on the route.

vandey bharat train running through tundla junction
vandey bharat train crossing cabin at tundla junction, UP.

Talking of Agra railway stations, well they being modernized as railway realized that recently the footfall of visitors have increased manifold.

Agra cantt station is allocated a sum of Rs 15 crore to put up modern amenities like: state of the art retiring and waiting rooms, solar panels, paintings, and LED lights.

Because of Taj Mahal (book tajmahal tickets online), city of Agra attracts many tourists. It is high time railway improves facilities and cleanliness at railway stations. Faster and punctual train, train running as per schedule, is good.

No doubt everyone will look forward to safer and faster trains between stations: New Delhi and Howrah.

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