Railway reduce speed of Vande Bharat & Gatimaan Express due to ‘this’ reason

Railway reduce speed of Vande Bharat & Gatimaan Express due to ‘this’ reason

Railway reduce speed of Vande Bharat & Gatimaan Express due to ‘this’ reason

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The Railway Board has decreased the speed of semi-high speed trains Gatimaan Express and Vande Bharat from 160 kmph to 130 kmph until the automatic train protection system becomes operational.

Currently, only Gatiman Express and two Vande Bharat trains operate at 160 kmph between Hazarat Nizamuddin (New Delhi) and Agra rail route due to appropriate track conditions. On June 24, the Railway Board’s executive director (signal) issued a letter to the general manager of the NCR zone and mentioned that the matter of speed of these trains was evaluated. It was decided that as recommended earlier, Zonal Railways should hasten IR-ATP Kavach works in the section, and until the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system is functional, trains should operate at a maximum speed of 130 kmph in the section, the letter stated.

Instructing the NCR zone to ensure compliance, the letter stated that the directive to reduce speed has also been sanctioned by the Railway Board’s Member, Infra; Member, Traction and Rolling Stock; and Member, Operation and Business Development. The Board made the decision independently following the recent Kanchanjunga Express incident in West Bengal, where a goods train collided with the passenger train from behind, resulting in the death of 10 individuals, including the freight train’s driver, a source informed. The speed limitation has been in effect since June 25.

The letter specifically mentions three trains – train number 20171/20172 (New Delhi-Rani Kamalapati Vande Bharat Express), 22470/22469 (Hazrat Nizamuddin-Khajuraho Vande Bharat Express) and train number 12049/12050 (New Delhi-Virangana Lakshmibai Jhansi Gatiman Express). Gatiman is India’s first semi-high speed train launched in April 2016 which runs between Nizamuddin and Jhansi but it takes 160 kmph speed only between Tughlakabad railway station and Agra as tracks were laid there to suit the train’s speed.

On June 22, 2024, during the Kanchanjunga Express mishap on June 17, the crew of Gatiman received instructions from the control department to decrease the speed from 160 to 140. Then, two days later, the Railway Board’s directive arrived, as shared by a railway source from the Delhi Rail Division. Vande Bharat operates at 130 kmph on all rail networks except the New-Delhi Agra route, where it can reach up to 160 due to appropriate track conditions, as mentioned by another railway source.

He mentioned, “The distance between Nizamuddin and Agra is 188 km, with approximately 125 km allowing trains to travel at a maximum speed of 160 kmph. In the remaining sections, the speed varies but remains below 130. Vande Bharat and Gatiman had nearly identical speed profiles until the Railway Board’s recent directive to reduce the speed to 130.”

As per railway sources, the Agra division is actively implementing the ‘Kavach’ system and has established a comprehensive ‘Kavach’ network on the 80-km stretch between Mathura (excluding the station) and Palwal. This includes placing RFID tags on railway tracks in station areas and other locations, setting up stationary ‘Kavach’ units at various points like stations, and erecting towers and antennas along the tracks.

The installation is currently for trial purposes and is not operational in train operations at present. A locomotive pilot working on that route mentioned that the Kavach system is ready to be activated whenever the relevant authorities decide to do so.