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Designing Specification for Standardization of Time Tabling

By on May 16, 2013

There were three types of trains over Indian Railways up to 70s namely Mail, Express and passenger trains. Mail and Express trains were either overnight or two night-one day journey. Passenger trains stopping at stations were designed to cover a distance of 150-200 Km in 5-6 hours.  Thereafter, different types of trains introduced but without any standardized features. Today, every train is a unique train with a  spread all throughout the day resulting very difficult to find even two hours path for freight or maintenance block. This is not a sustainable feature and the very advantage of energy efficiency and fast travel is either loosing steam or will certainly not last long. Based on the concept of time corridor and its plotting over the Indian Railways network, an effort has been made to draw specification and standardization for the timetabling of Indian Railways.

  1.  The average speed is targeted based on the maximum permissible speed potential of the locomotive and rolling stock and at least be 70% of maximum permissible in case of fast trains and 50% for freight trains. Feeder trains connect passenger from stopping station to a non-stopping stations/branch line and vice-versa. Feeder trains to start after the arrival of coaching corridor and reaches the station before the arrival of coaching corridor. This way, the feeder train connects the passenger of all the trains running in the national corridor ensuring connectivity.
  2. The targeted average speed for these various types of trains is 
















  1. Fixed timings to run coaching trains at a National / Zonal level and be called National Corridor. All coaching trains to run on the shadow path in the national corridor.
  2. The average speed of the National Corridor be designed and fixed based on the potential of the existing rolling stock.
  3. The total number of the National Corridor shall be decided based on the coaching train density.and be fixed accordingly in the range of 4-5 distributed round the clock.
  4. The time interval in between corridors may not be uniform. In fact, non-uniformity  will help in connecting national corridors at Junction point where corridors coming from different directions at different timings can be connected.
  5. The width of the National Corridor should not exceed more than 2 hours. or 8 trains. The national corridor is fixed at     National level and all passenger-carrying trains other than feeder and freight trains must run in the National Corridor only. Stoppage of National Corridor at a station means stoppage of all trains running in that corridor and shall depend on the population and ticket sale of a station, but not exceeding more than 3 out of the four-five corridors, in any case. each of the National Corridors shall have trains for all possible Metro/major city directions. This will help feeder train to support the national corridor. 
  6. No speed differential is permissible between any two trains in a National Corridor. However, trains of average speed of 65 km/h and 90 km/h may run in a National Corridor at its boundaries but without requiring any precedence. One of the National corridors should be earmarked for running Rajdhani type long distance super fast trains having an average speed of 90 km/h or more. The average speed need not be uniform throughout its journey. There is always demand for stoppages during day time affecting average speed. Therefore, national corridors may have a higher average speed during night time as compared to day time.
  7. National Corridor be numbered at National Level as UP Corridor NU 1,3,5,7 DN Corridor ND 2,4,6,8
  8. National Corridors be interconnected at important junctions to facilitate switching from one corridor to another. Cross-Corridors are used when two corridors cannot be connected.
  9. Feeder corridor, is used to connect  passengers of all nearby stations with stopping station of National Corridor and should arrive 15 minutes early and similarly to leave 15 minutes after the departure of national corridor. Feeder trains are also to run from branch line to connect National Corridor or main line feeder/ MEMU Trains.
  10. The length of the platform at all the stopping stations of the National Corridor need only be provided to accommodate 26 coaches.
  11.  Feeder corridor services may also be provided by road transport.
  12.  Freight train operation should stop completely during the passage of national corridor. It may take around two hours for the coaching corridor to pass through, therefore, it is preferred to shut down the locomotive thus saving on auxiliary energy which is of the order of Rs. 600/hour/loco. In the present scenario, it is difficult to force this issue, because of uncertainty in freight train travel.
  13. The average speed of the goods train should be designed at 35-40 km/h. It may certainly be more from one crew changing station to another, around 50 km/h., i.e. at the same speed as that of feeder corridor therefore, precedence of the feeder corridor over freight train may not essentially be required.
  14. Maintenance block is planned immediately after the passage of national or feeder corridor connecting first daytime national corridor. Certainty of maintenance corridor is morale boosting for the maintenance organization with better black productivity.
  15. Normally, there should be one feeder train for each of the National Corridor, but more trains may be required to run to meet the requirement of local passengers. Running of such trains be designed at Divisional level at an average speed such that no precedence is required over a freight train. MEMU/DMU type trains are preferred for such services due to higher acceleration reserve as such trains are required to stop at each station. These trains run for a short distance, not exceeding 300 km with one break of 30 Mts. and preferably starting from non stopping national corridor station and ending at similar such station.

This is only an effort to stress on the need for standardization and specification for timetabling and can have many more desirable.  But there is no escape from this feature, when Indian Railways wants to provide sustainable development with energy efficiency.


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  1. […] namely Main/Express/Rajdhani etc. and other passenger/EMU/Memu type trains. There is no planned and time tabled connectivity between these two types of trains. All developed Railways, whom we intend to copy for modernization […]