After the success of Gatiman Express which runs at a speed of 160 km/hr between New Delhi and Agra, Indian Railways has undertaken the task of running Rajdhanis, Durontos and other superfast trains at 160 km/hr on the New Delhi- Mumbai and New Delhi – Howrah routes. The entire project is estimated to cost about ₹ 10,000 crore.
Both New Delhi- Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah routes are currently fit for 130 km/hr. The New Delhi – Mathura section of the Mumbai route was upgraded for Gatiman Express to run at 160 km/hr. “We have firmed up an action plan to increase the train speed to up to 160 km per hour on the total 9000-km main trunk routes across the country as part of the Mission Raftaar project. To begin with we have started the work on two major busy routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.
Approximately 125 passenger trains run daily on the New Delhi – Howrah route and 90 run on the New Delhi – Mumbai routes. Speeding up the route will reduce the travel time significantly. To increase the speed, four major works need to be done –
1. strengthening of tracks and overhead wires,
2. upgradation of signaling network,
3. fencing off vulnerable stretches where railway tracks pass through densely populated settlements,
4. reinforcement and strengthening of curves, old bridges and turnouts.
Railway Ministry has directed that all the railway zones involving these two corridors, namely Eastern, East Central, North Central, Northern, West Central and Western Railways have been instructed to undertake the work on a mission mode so that trains can move at a maximum speed of 160 km/hr in the next three years. The 1450 km long Delhi-Howrah and the 1380 km long Delhi- Mumbai rail corridors are among the two major busy routes of the Indian Railways network. Once materialised, it will cut short the journey time of Rajdhani and Duronto express trains between these destinations by 2-3 hours !