India’s fastest train, the semi-high speed train Gatimaan Express, which is capable of reaching speeds of up to 160 km/h, will be flagged off on Tuesday from New Delhi.
The new train service will be launched by Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu as the inaugural run of Gatimaan would start from Hazrat Nizamuddin at 10 am and end at Agra Cantt at 11.40 am. “The launch of this train heralds a new era of high speed rail travel in India,” the rail ministry said in a statement.
Here is all you need to know about the ‘semi-bullet’ train:
TOP SPEED: Gatimaan’s record speed of 160 km per hour (kph), if achieved, would be a marginal improvement over the maximum 150 kph clocked currently by Bhopal Shatabdi on the same route. Of course, even at that speed, the Gatimman is a far cry from a real ‘bullet-train’. For comparison, Japan’s Shinkansen network of high-speed railway lines sees trains clock speeds up to 320 kph. The train will still travel at 120 kph speed between Delhi and Tughlakabad and catch speed thereafter.
TRAVEL TIME: The train will cover the 192-km distance between Delhi and Agra in all of 100 minutes, as compared to the 118 minutes taken by Shatabdi Express on the same route. By way of comparison, the first Shatabdi Express rolled out between New Delhi and Jhansi in 1988 by the then railway minister Madhavrao Scindia took 115 minutes to reach Agra.
TIMINGS: The Gatimaan service will be run on all days of the week, except Friday, starting from Nizamuddin station at 8.10 am and reaching Agra Cantt at 9.50 am. The return journey of the train will start from Agra at 5.50 pm and reach Nizamuddin station at 7.30 pm.
TICKET PRICES: Tickets will be priced at Rs 750 for AC CC and Rs 1,500 for executive CC. This is around 50% higher than the tariff for Shatabdi Express — Rs 515 for AC CC and Rs 1,010 for executive CC travel. The train will be run with 10 coaches, including eight air-conditioned chair car (AC CC) coaches and two executive class bogies, with a total of 715 seats.
TECHNOLOGY: The train runs on a WAP5 electrical engine, the best in-class loco produced so far by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, and Linke Hofmann Busch coaches in use in the Shatabdi Express. “While the locomotive and the coaches are the same, we have made several changes in the track and the signaling system to improve the speed,” said a senior rail ministry official.
One of the reasons behind the Gatimaan’s higher speed is that Northern Railways has worked to cut down more than 80 obstacle points on the Delhi-Agra route — including sharp turns, bridges, crossings and yards — to less than 18 points.
Additionally, the rail ministry has also tilted tracks at a few places to negotiate curves at higher speeds.
PIECE DE RESISTANCE: Chicken sausages with Spanish omelette, date walnut cake, aloo kulcha, mini dosa, chicken roll and Swiss roll. According to NDTV Food, the Gatimaan will provide culinary delights hitherto unseen on other regular passenger trains in the country. According to the report, the train’s hostesses will serve both Indian and continental cuisine and “everything will be served in Bone China”.