Rlys to increase track speed by introducing EMU trains
Electrical Multiple Unit trains will also reduce travel time
In a bid to increase track speeds from the present 65-90 km to 130-150 km, the railways is actively introducing EMU (Electrical Multiple Unit) trains on long distance routes.
Ministry sources say that in addition to the technology available, it will go for foreign technical assistance. “The MoU signed with France will help us a lot. They have better technology.”
At the moment, average speed of trains in India ranges between 65-90 km. However, with the exception of Rajdhani, Duranto and Shatabdi trains which run at the speed above 80 km, other fast trains run at lower speeds. EMU trains could lower the travel time to a great extent. EMU trains do not require shunting which saves time, said an official.
Opting for semi-high speed trains will lead to more EMU trains on long distance routes. At present, sub-urban sections in metro-cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are using these trains.
The railways is regularly improving upon EMU technology. Newer AC-DC EMUs built by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) have some additional features for passengers. Earlier, prototypes had different seating configurations (2x2 and 3x2), but all production units have regular 3x3 seating. They are factory-fitted with pneumatic suspension.
The rakes for these will have 12 cars, and the rated maximum speed is 100 km/hour. Most EMU coaches for Western Railways and Central Railways, including the new AC-DC EMUs, are now manufactured by ICF, Perambur. A Millennium Rake was introduced in 2005, with enhancements such as forced ventilation with 32 fans instead of the normal 24, and audio-visual indications in the coaches about the current location, next station, platform direction (using GPS technology).
According to ministry sources, this is the best option the cash-starved railways can have at this point of time when resource generation is a challenge before the government.
“Greater mobility is the requirement of the day. However, we cannot opt for high speed trains as it is not financially viable. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor of 543 km will cost Rs 63,000 crore. The huge sum cannot be mobilised within a short period,” revealed an official.
Union Minister for Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal has already indicated that bullet trains are not on the immediate agenda.