Government has given its approval for increasing the speed of the Delhi-Mumbai route and the Delhi-Howrah routes, both including Kanpur-Lucknow, to 160 Kmph by 2022-23 at a total cost of Rs 6,806 crore and Rs 6,685 crore respectively. This will ensure improved speed, service, safety and create capacity.
As part of Mission Raftaar, Indian Railways is working in mission mode to improve the average speed of trains across the network. Increasing the speed will ensure upto 60 per cent increase in the average speed of passenger trains and the doubling of an average speed of freight traffic.
The 1,483 km long Delhi-Mumbai Route passes through seven states--Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The travel time between New Delhi and Mumbai will be reduced by 3.5 hours, now making it a fully overnight journey. Increasing the maximum speed of the Delhi-Mumbai route will also give further impetus to semi-high speed trains.
On the other hand, the 1,525 Kms long Delhi-Howrah Route passes through five states--Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. The travel time between New Delhi and Howrah will be reduced by 5 hours, making it an overnight journey. Increasing the maximum speed of the Delhi-Howrah route will also give further impetus to semi-high speed trains like the Vande Bharat Express.
This will allow such trains to unlock their full potential and travel at a speed of 160 Kmph, to ensure passengers have best in class speed and service. In addition, it has been found that the safer LHB coaches too can be made fit for this speed.
The scope of the project includes fencing, Automatic Train Protection System (ETCS 2/TPWS), Mobile Train Radio Communication, and automated and mechanised diagnostic systems, which will considerably enhance safety and reliability. Besides the above main inputs, the policy also requires removal of all level crossings which are being eliminated otherwise under a separate plan head.
The entire project has been structured on a new approach of route wise single composite work with single agency execution, and complete funding through Extra Budgetary Resources - Institutional Finance (ERB-IF). With improved funding, better coordination, economies of scale, and induction of state of the art technology, the project will be completed in 4 years from the date of approval. Furthermore, work along the line will be planned with minimum disruption of traffic, ensuring passengers and businesses are least affected during the construction phase.
The project will help boost employment during the construction phase with more than 3.6 crore mandays to be generated directly. It will also help kick start an economic multiplier that will give a boost to growth in all states. The project will also lead to an increase in throughput on the route by 30-35%, paving the way for PPP models in the future.
As a part of Mission Raftaar, Government has also granted similar approval for the Delhi-Mumbai route, which together with the Delhi-Howrah route account for 29% of passenger traffic and 20% of freight traffic. Railways is also working to cover the complete Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals of Indian Railways, which consist of 16% of the total Indian Railways Network, but account for 52% of total passenger traffic and 58% of total freight traffic.