Indian Railways to reduce Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah travel time by 5 hours! Two of the busiest routes on the Indian Railways network – Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai – are set for a massive infrastructure upgrade in the coming years, with speeds being raised to 160 kmph on the important routes. According to a 100-day roadmap drawn by Indian Railways on PM Narendra Modi’s instructions, the train travel time on the above-mentioned routes will come down by 5 hours. The 100-day plan document of the Railway Board, envisages an investment of around Rs 14,000 crore for this massive project.
Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah trains: Travel in just 10-12 hours!
Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry plans to send the proposal to upgrade infrastructure on New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs for approval. The project, once complete, will reduce the train travel time between New Delhi-Howrah to 12 hours from the existing 17 hours. The train journey time between New Delhi-Mumbai may come down to as low as 10 hours from the present 15.5 hours.
According to the national transporter’s estimates, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes account for nearly 30% of passenger traffic and 20% of freight traffic. While the upgradation of railway infrastructure on the New Delhi-Howrah route (1,525 kilometres) will entail an expenditure of Rs 6,684 crore, the New Delhi-Mumbai project (1,483 kilometres) will require Rs 6,806 crore.
The document states that the ambitious project will be undertaken in a fixed time, fixed cost EPC contract basis over a time span of 4 years from the date of approval. The national transporter is of the view that this format will help reduce delays and cost overrun while also ensuring better coordination and economies of scale.
Indian Railways has been upgrading its rolling stock and one of the biggest technological leaps for it was the introduction of the self-propelled Vande Bharat Express on the Delhi-Varanasi route. Banking on the success of the Train 18 project, Indian Railways is now looking to manufacture Train 19, which will be a Rajdhani Express-style sleeper variant of the Vande Bharat Express. Train 19 is being planned for the Delhi-Mumbai route with the hope of bringing travel time down.
Even as it brings its rolling stock up to world-standards, railway experts have time and again stressed on the need to invest in rail infrastructure such as tracks, signalling and fencing so that the average speed of trains on the Golden Quadrilateral can be increased. The identification of the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah routes for the 160 kmph upgrade is an important step in that direction.