India speeds up trains

NEW DELHI, 11 January 2021: Indian Railways are now running faster with trains capable of sustaining a maximum speed of 130 kph on stretches totalling 1,280 km out of 1,612 km of track that covers the Golden Quadrilateral – Golden Diagonal (GQ-GD) route zone.

The new top speed for train covers the entire GQ-GD route over South Central Railway, except for the Vijayawada – Duvvada section, where signalling upgrades are in progress.

The so-called Golden Quadrilateral project connects the four major metro cities, namely Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. 

It began in 2001 with national highway network development and by 2012 connected most of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India. Initially concentrating on highway expansion it later expanded to include an upgrade of the national railway with the objective of reducing the travelling times between commercial gateway cities.

While the quadrilateral refers to four major metro cities of India — Delhi (north), Kolkata (east), Mumbai (west) and Chennai (south) it also improved overland transfers to other cities. They include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Balasore, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Durgapur, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Surat, Vijayawada, Ajmer, Vizag, Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Allahabad, Agra, Mathura, Dhanbad, Gandhinagar, Udaipur, and Vadodara.

At 5,846 km, it is the largest highway project in India and the fifth-longest in the world.

Commenting on the new speed achievement for trains the Ministry of Railways said: “The enhanced speed limits could be achieved due to the systematic and planned strengthening of tracks and its infrastructure by removing bottlenecks in these sections on a fast pace”.

The ministry said the Railways had used the Covid-19 lockdown period that caused low train movements to complete infrastructure upgrades. Trials followed July to October 2020, using Confirmatory Oscillograph Car Runs (COCR) that consisted of instrumented coaches of all classes travelling at 130 Kph.

The South Central Railway zone has now been given the green light to enhance the maximum speed limits to 130 kph along the following routes.

1.Golden Diagonal (Grand Trunk) Route: 744 Route Km;
i. Ballarshah to Kazipet – 234 km;
ii. Kazipet-Vijayawada-Gudur – 510 km.

2. Golden Quadrilateral Route (Chennai -Mumbai section): 536 Route Km;
i. Renigunta to Gooty – 281 km;
ii. Gooty to Wadi –  255 km

The maximum speed limits in the High-Density Network (HDN) between Secunderabad – Kazipet (132 Km distance) had already been increased to 130 kph. A total of 2,824 km of the track has been made fit to run at a speed of 130 kph.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Railways witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure and capacity expansion of its network that will ultimately improve the travelling experience for passengers.