No bullet trains, EMUs may run the long course

Tags: News

Rail budget to add these faster trains on select Rajdhani routes

Bullet trains, one of the most highlighted election promises of the BJP, are unlikely to come about in this rail budget, but then the government is likely to announce faster, more comfortable and high-capacity imported train sets on July 8.

These electric multiple-unit (EMU) trains will be introduced in premier services like Rajdhani and Shatabdi. The decision to adopt train sets technology was first announced in the 2012 rail budget, but it has not been implemented yet.

Railway minister Sadanand Gowda is widely expected to announce its launch beginning with the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata Rajdhani trains.

EMU train-sets are popular in many countries and can add up to 30 per cent more capacity in the 21-coach Rajdhani Express trains, a railway official said.

These aerodynamically-designed light-weight trains have driving cabs at both ends, allowing faster turnround at terminal stations, leading to improved utilisation.

These trains are designed for operations at a maximum speed of 130-150 km per hour and can run on the existing Indian tracks. They facilitate faster acceleration and deceleration — as in the case of Metro rail and suburban trains — thus improving the average speed substantially, the official said. These trains can reduce the running time by up to three hours on the Delhi-Kolkata route, and by much more on the longer-distance Delhi-Chennai or Delhi-Bengaluru routes.

On inter-city sectors like Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Amritsar and Mumbai-Ahmedabad, these trains can even do an extra trip a day.

India’s existing rail tracks on are fit for running trains at speeds up to 150 km an hour, but the average speed of the existing trains is less than 90 kmph due to poor acceleration of loco-hauled trains.

EMU train-sets are more eco-friendly, consume 30 per cent less energy and are considered safer. They cost around Rs 200 crore per set, but will require no additional expenditure either on the existing tracks or the signalling infrastructure.

While the conventional Rajdhani train with 21 coaches costs less at Rs 90 crore, the additional costs on EMU trains can be recovered in three to five years with the additional capacity and improved turnaround time, the official pointed out.

The plan is in line with the international trend wherein most advanced countries have progressively switched from locomotive-hauled conventional intercity trains to distributed powered electrical multiple train sets, the official said.

Initially these train sets will be imported but local manufacturing is expected to begin soon in a phased manner.

krsudhaman@mydigitalfc.com

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