Miles to go before semi high-speed train hits the track

Miles to go before semi high-speed train hits the track

Technical glitches may have derailed the plan for the semi high-speed train on the Bangalore-Mysore-Chennai route that was announced in the Railway Budget, 2014.

A study conducted by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) for the Bangalore-Mysore-Chennai line, along with other lines, suggests that achieving a speed of 160 kmph is not possible due to curve restriction and gauge conversion. The entire Bangalore-Mysore track has been converted from meter gauge to broad gauge and has too many curve restrictions.

The Delhi-Agra semi high-speed train recently saw a successful run, raising hopes for such a facility on the Bangalore-Mysore-Chennai line. However, the report underlines that the maximum speed that can be achieved on this line is 120-130 kmph. Currently, the speed of the train between Bangalore and Mysore is 100 kmph.

Moreover, the technical study conducted by the Bangalore Division of the South Western Railways (SWR) points out that drastic technical changes are required to run a train at a speed of 160 kmph.

They include replacement of tracks, double distant signalling and new point machines. Even after these changes, estimated to cost a whopping Rs 1,500 crore, the desired speed of 160 kmph can be achieved only for 20 per cent of the total distance. For instance, between Bangalore and Mysore, only an 8-km stretch can be covered at that speed.

As if these roadblocks were not enough, the Railway Board has conveyed to the SWR that there is a paucity of funds. A senior SWR official, on condition of anonymity, said that the board expressed its inability to spare Rs 1,000 crore for the project.

It has now asked the SWR to prepare a feasibility report in two weeks on what best can be done with minimum funds.

Another hurdle is converting 36 manned interlocked level crossings into non-interlocked ones, besides fencing along the entire track as a safety measure. This is bound to cost approximately Rs 250 crore.

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