Amid Safety Concerns, Indian Railways Cuts Speed Of Premium Trains, Increasing Travel Time By 30 Minutes

The decision will also affect the schedules of other superfast trains.

by Mallika Khurana
Amid Safety Concerns, Indian Railways Cuts Speed Of Premium Trains, Increasing Travel Time By 30 Minutes

Indian Railways is taking a major step to improve safety by lowering the speed of its premium trains, such as the Vande Bharat and Gatiman Express, from 160 kmph to 130 kmph on some routes. This choice was made in reaction to safety concerns, specifically the malfunctions of the Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) on important routes.

Indian Railways To Lower Speeds Of High-Speed Trains

Shatabdi
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The trains impacted by this speed reduction include:

  • Delhi-Jhansi-Delhi Gatiman Express (Train No 12050/12049)
  • Delhi-Khajuraho-Delhi Vande Bharat Express (Train No 22470/22469)
  • Delhi-Rani Kamalapati-Delhi Vande Bharat Express (Train No 20172/20171)
  • Delhi-Rani Kamalapati-Delhi Shatabdi Express (Train No 12002/12001)

These trains’ top speed will be lowered from 160 kmph to 130 kmph, and the Shatabdi Express’s top speed will be lowered from 150 kmph to 130 kmph. The trip time will increase by about 25 to 30 minutes as a result of this reduction.

The main cause of this decision is the TPWS’s failure on the Delhi-Agra-Jhansi routes. It is not possible to maintain or repair the TPWS, according to reports from The Hindu. Therefore, it has been recommended that the Railway Board run these trains at a “much safer speed of 130 kmph.”

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Changes Expected To Impact Multiple Routes

Premium trains
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The revised timings of these premium trains will affect the schedules of at least 10 other superfast express train operations along the same routes. These changes aim to maintain operational efficiency and ensure safety across the network. This decision follows a series of tragic accidents, including the recent Kanchanjunga Express accident in West Bengal. This accident resulted in 10 deaths and 40 injuries. 

Shubhranshu, the former Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer of Integral Coach Factory and the mind behind the Vande Bharat Express, expressed his concerns over the decision. As per The Hindu reports, he argued that reducing the speed without addressing the root causes, such as track and signalling system inadequacies, would not effectively enhance safety.

Shubhranshu highlighted that the TPWS on the Delhi-Agra route has been non-functional for many years. He pointed out that the capability of trains and coaches to run at higher speeds has existed for two decades, but the tracks were not safe for such speeds. He emphasised the need for a cultural shift within the organisation to maintain high-tech equipment and infrastructure.

While the decision to reduce the speed of premium trains aims to ensure safety, it has sparked a debate on the broader issues within the railway system.

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons