It is not just Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train that is delayed, but the semi-high speed train corridor connecting Mumbai and Delhi too isn’t coming anytime soon. The Mumbai-Delhi corridor will be able to operate semi-high speed trains at 160 kmph not before March 2024. This comes at a time when the Western Railway called tenders for two vital works for the Rs 6661 crore project; namely widening the rail tracks and also creates 2x25000-volt power supply lines.
On June 8, Indian Railways’ top boss Suneet Sharma said that it would take at least two-and-half years for sprucing up this Mumbai-Delhi corridor and make it fit to run at 160 kmph. “Right now, the tracks on this corridor are fit to run trains at 130 kmph. The tracks need input and other infrastructure upgrades. We expect this corridor to be ready by March 2024 after which trains can run at 160 kmph,” said Suneet Sharma, Chairman and CEO, Railway Board.
The semi-high speed train is an ambitious project for the Indian Railways; wherein Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Howrah corridors are coming up initially. The increase in speeds will cut down travel time by 4 hours on Mumbai-Delhi corridor from approximately 16 hours now to 12 hours.
As part of the first work that is to widen the ‘cess’ on Churchgate-Surat route in connection to raising speeds of trains to 160 kmph; the WR will be spending Rs 17.72 crore. A cess here means a formation below the tracks and ballasts wherein work will entail creating a wider base on which rail tracks and ballasts will be laid for smoother ride.
This will work as an improved cushioning which will take the load when trains run at speeds of 160 kmph and more. The second work of commissioning 2x25000-volt overhead equipment (OHE) cables on the Virat-Surat stretch at a cost of nearly Rs 31.04 crore will provide more juice to the trains for running at higher speeds.
The railway authorities are trying to normalise the train running situation across the country. In April they had touched operating 1500 trains daily, which has now crossed 880 trains. “We are trying to revive 100 plus trains in the coming days,” said another railway official.