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Indian Railways planning for Semi-HSR of 160-200 Kmph

By on November 3, 2013

Railway plans speed boost for premier trains, to make them “semi high-speed” services

India has shelved the idea to go for HSR and instead looking for options to go for the speed of 160-200Kmph. The High Speed Railway Corporation has been formed under RVNL to go into the nitty-gritty of how to proceed.


Maximum permissible speed of trains over IR has been 110 Kmph for the last 60 years and in fact dropped to 105 Kmph for some time in the 80’s due to safety concern. Indian Railways purchased stock locomotives as well as coaches which are fit for working at 160 Kmph along with TOT. The stock had only been working at a maximum permissible speed of 130 Kmph just wasting the speed potential of 30 Kmph all-along. There is no benefit derived by  the passenger when new rolling stock like LHB and WAP5 locomotives were introduced. Attempts were made to raise the speed to 160 Kmph but succeeded in doing so on a trial basis on a short stretch of about 100 Kmph. The only concern is addressing safety concerns of handling trespassing. This may require an investment of about 2-3 Crs/Km.

Why not IR shall work immediately for raising the speed of 160 Kmph and keeping the work for 200 Kmph for planning? For 200 Kmph IR will  be depending foreign players for buying rolling stock, technology and other expertise from abroad.

Raising speed of 160 Kmph has the benefit of raising the average speed to about 110 Kmph and if implemented on Shatabdi route from Delhi, will reduce the travel time as follows:

Sl No. Delhi-Amritsar Delhi-Lucknow Delhi-Bhopal Delhi-Ajmer
Distance 448 512 701 443
As existing Time/Average speed 6 Hrs 35 Mts/68 Kmph 6 Hrs. 15 Mts/82 Kmph 8 Hrs. 05 mts/86 Kmph 6 Hrs. 35 Mts/68 Kmph
With MPS of 160 Kmph 4 Hrs. 10 Mts 4 Hrs. 40 Mts 6 Hrs. 25 Mts. 4 Hrs. 10 Mts

Is it not a fare competition with Air on Lucknow and Amritsar route? Most of the studies of HSR is related to competing with Air?  160 kmph is a certainty whereas 200 kmph is only in a thought process with many hurdles to handle in future. 200 Kmph will only offer an excuse to even to implement 160 Kmph which is very much possible except will power.

Shatabdi route

Process of Implementation

IR shall run one corridor of Rajdhani/Shatabadi from Delhi originating and terminating at 17 hrs 10 hrs respectively. It means running 7-8 trains at MPS of 160 Kmph from Delhi at 17 Hrs one after another towards Kanpur for destinations of Lucknow, Patna, Guwahati, Bhubhneshwar, Sealdah, Howrah, Ranchi etc. This will avoid issues related to the precedence of trains if 160 Kmph trains are introduced round the clock.


Indian Railways shall work to introduce trains at 160 Kmph instead complicating the issue by mixing up with 200 Kmph carrot. Work done for increasing maximum permissible speed of 160 Kmph will not go waste while planning for 200 Kmph, therefore beginning shall be made. 


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