130 kmph on Golden Quadrilateral, Diagonals by March 2021: Indian Railways Sets Itself a Stiff Target

Indian Railways will have to clear several bottlenecks along the golden quadrilateral and golden diagonal routes if the sectional speed is to be raised to 130 kmph .

The golden quadrilateral /golden diagonal (GQ /GD) routes are –

  • New Delhi Mumbai via Mathura and Vadodara,
  • New Delhi- Chennai via Nagpur, and Vijayawada,
  • New Delhi-Howrah via Kanpur and Dhanbad,
  • Howrah- Chennai via Visakhapatnam
  • Mumbai- Chennai via Wadi and Renigunta
  • Mumbai-Howrah via Nagpur

Sectional Speeds on Indian Railways’ Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals Today

New Delhi – Mumbai via Vadodara

ZoneSectionRoute kmMaximum permissible sectional speed (MPS) in kmphSpeed of fastest train(s) in the sectionNumber of fastest train pairsStatus of CRS sanction of 130 kmph sectional speed
NRNew-Delhi -Tughlakabad1712012016Documents recvd from division and are under signature at headquarters. RDSO has called for track monitoring run to monitor track quality fit to raise section speed to 130
NRTughlakabad-Palwal391301601No action required- secion speed already at 130 kmph
NCRPalwal-Mathura831101601Proposal to raise section MPS to 130 kmph between Palwal and Dhaulpur submitted to CRS on December 3,2019
WCRMathura-Nagda5491101309Proposal being prepared. Joint Safety Certificate (JSC) for Confirmatory Oscillograph Car Run (COCR) being prepared.
WRNagda-Ratlam441301303 CRS sanction received on March 7,2020
WRRatlam-Limkheda1451001003Papers to CRSfor 110 kmph submitted on December 2,2019 for 65 route kms between Linkheda and Meghnagar. For the remaining 80 route km 130 kmph not feasible on ghat sectionwith steep curves on gradients
WRLimkheda-Godhra401101103Papers to CRSfor 120 kmph submitted on December 2,2019 . However, 130 kmph not feasible on ghat sectionwith steep curves on gradients
WRGodhra-Virar4101301305 CRS sanction received on March 7,2020
WRVirar-Borivali261101105Not feasible in busy suburban section
WRBorivali-Mumbai Central301001005Not feasible in busy suburban section
TotalNew Delhi -Mumbai1383    

New Delhi – Howrah

ZoneSectionRoute kmMaximum permissible sectional speed (MPS) in kmphSpeed of fastest train(s) in the sectionNumber of fastest train pairsStatus of CRS sanction of 130 kmph sectional speed
NRNew Delhi-Chipiyana Buzurg (Ghaziabad)2911011048Documents recvd from division and are under signature at headquarters. RDSO has called for track monitoring run to monitor track quality fit to raise section speed to 130
NCRChipiyana Buzurg- New West Cabin outer of  Pt.Deen Dayal Upadhyay Jn 75911013029Proposal to CRS submitted on November 8 2019. CRS sanction awaited
ECRNew West Cabin- Pradhan Khunta41513013010Dehri-on-Sone Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Jn 3rd line (119.31 km) application to CRS submitted on May 14,2019
ERPradhan Khunta -Howrah2501101305 
TotalNew Delhi-Howrah1454    

Nizamuddin — Chennai

ZoneSectionRoute kmMaximum permissible sectional speed (MPS) in kmphSpeed of fastest train(s) in the sectionNumber of fastest train pairsStatus of CRS sanction of 130 kmph sectional speed
NRNew-Delhi -Tughlakabad1712012016Documents recvd from division and are under signature at headquarters. RDSO has called for track monitoring run to monitor track quality fit to raise section speed to 130
NRTughlakabad-Palwal391301601No action required- secion speed already at 130 kmph
NCRPalwal-Lalitpur44211013019Proposal to increase speed on Dhaulpur-Lalitpur section was submitted on May 14 2019. CRS observations received and circulated to concerned departments for consolidated reply to CRS.
NCRLalitpur-Bina6111012019Proposal to increase speed from Lalitpur-Bina section was submitted on May 14 2019. CRS observations received and circulated to concerned departments for consolidated reply to CRS.
WCRBina-Jujharpur23311012013Proposal for rasing speed under preparation. Joint Safety Certificate (JSC) for Confirmatory Oscillograph Car Run (COCR) is under preparation
CRJujharpur-Ballarshah506110 (65 ghat)1208Not applied
SCRBallarshah-Kazipet232120120261.Proposal to conduct preliminary test with OMS (Oscillation Monitoring System for enhancement of section speed to 130 kmph to ascertain the riding quality of track. 2. GM’s approval under process for proposal of conducting COCR test by RDSO
SCRKazipet-Vijayawada21012012020Track strengthening works under progress
SCRVijayawada- Gudur294110110111Track strengthening works under progress
SRGudur-Chennai Central13710511043Awaiting speed certificate for COCR trial to initiate process for CRS sanction
TotalNizamddin-Chennai2162    

Mumbai – Howrah

ZoneSectionRoute kmMaximum permissble sectional speed (MPS) in kmphSpeed of fastest train(s) in the sectionNumber of fastest train pairsStatus of CRS sanction of 130 kmph sectional speed
CRMumbai CSMT-Kasara121105105 Not applied
CRKasara-Igatpuri166060 Not applied
CRIgatpuri-Wardha621110110 Not applied
CRWardha-Nagpur79110110 Not applied
SECRNagpur-Jhasuguda61411011089Process of conducting COCR is already taken up.Simultaneously works as per detailed schedule is being taken up by divisions.
SERJhasuguda-Howrah51411011074Speed certificate issued on February 19,2020 for Andul-Tatanagar (237 km) portion across 2 divisions Kharagpur and Chakradharpur.Proposal was sent in November 2019.
TotalMumbai-Howrah 1965    

Howrah – Chennai

ZoneSectionRoute KMMaximum Permissible Sectional Speed (MPS) in KmphSpeed oof Fastest Trains in the SectionNumber of Fastest Train Pairs
SERHowrah-Bhadrak28611011075Proposal under process for sending to RDSO for issue of speed certificate for conducting COCR
ECoRBhadrak-Duvvada604110110156Track strengthening works under progress
SCRDuvvada-Viajayawada33111011095Track strengthening works under progress
SCRVijayawada-Gudur294110110111Track strengthening works under progress
SRGudur-Chennai Central13710511043Awaiting speed certificate for COCR trial to initiate process for CRS sanction
TotalHowrah-Chennai1652    

Mumbai CSMT – Chennai

ZoneSectionRoute kmMaximum permissble sectional speed (MPS) in kmphSpeed of fastest train(s) in the sectionNumber of fastest train pairsStatus of CRS sanction of 130 kmph sectional speed
CRMumbai CSMT-Kalyan53105105 Not applied
CRKalyan-Karjat47105105 Not applied
CRKarjat-Palasdari38080 Not applied
CRPalasdari-Lonavala2560(Ghat)60 (Ghat) Not applied
CRLonavala-Pune64110110 Not applied
CRPune-Daund76110110 Not applied
CRDaund-Solapur188110110 Not applied
CRSolapur-Wadi150110110 Not applied
SCRWadi-Gooty255110110 Track strengthening works under progress
SCRGooty-Renigunta281105105 GM’s approval under process for proposal of conducting COCR test by RDSO
SRRenigunta-Chennai134105105 Track strengthening works under progress
TotalMumbai-Chennai1274    

Railway Board Plan to Upgrade Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals to 130 kph

The Railway Board decided that zonal railways would have to work on a priority to make the entire- GD-GQ route fit for 130 kmph by the end of next fiscal FY21.

Six actions points were outlined

  1. All zonal railways should immediately obtain CRS sanction to raise sectional speed of Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai to 130 kmph by March 2020. Sanctions for the remaining GD-GQ routes have to be obtained by March 2021.
  2.  RDSO has to facilitate the CRS sanction by carrying out the necessary 130 kmph speed trials (called Confirmatory Oscillograph Car Run or COCR)
  3. GMs have been directed to prepare the action plan to achieve the stipulated track structure within the stipulated time.
  4. The board has prescribed a zero-based review of traffic, section-wise requirement of ETA (expected time of arrival) jointly by all executive departments of zonal railways after incorporating adequate number of corridor blocks for maintenance of track/bridges/OHE and signals.
  5. Double distant signaling works have to be sanctioned and executed on routes where it is not available.
  6. Monthly progress reports to be submitted to the Railway Board.

Challenges to be addressed

A lot needs to be done to accomplish the 130-kmph sectional speed.

For instance, on Central Railway between Mumbai CSMT and Kasara large inputs are needed for increasing the speed from 105/110 kmph to 130 kmph. This is on account of insufficient space for re-aligning curves, lifting of track and drainage owing to encroachment.

However, Lonavala-Pune upgradation is possible from track side.

Unregulated overhead equipment (overhead wires and catenaries) are a major pain point in Mumbai and Pune divisions of CR. These need to be converted to regulated OHE.

CR’s proposals are yet to be included in the pink book which contains details of works to be done and the funds to be allocated each year.

It is gathered CR has sent a proposal to the Railway for approval at a cost of Rs 46.22 crore under umbrella works. If sanctioned the 130-kmph speed upgrade of Lonavala-Pune is possible by August 2020.

Delhi-Howrah-route

Northern Railway and North Central Railway are already running over 100 trains are already running at 130 kmph between New Delhi -Mathura Junction and New Delhi-Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Jn (DDU) on Northern/North Central Railway based on speed certificates given to individual trains.

The sectional speed can be immediately upped to 130 kmph as soon as zero-based timetabling of trains  with  2 to 3 hour corridor block each day is incorporated in the new time table for doing track / signal /OHE maintenance on these routes.

 Delhi-Mumbai route

Steep curves and gradients form a major hindrance between Ratlam-Limkheda and Limkheda Godhra. In addition, it is tough to implement 130 kmph on Mumbai suburban between Virar and Mumbai Central.

Howrah – Mumbai

130 kmph on the existing alignment over the 16-km Thull ghat gradient between Kasara and Igatpuri is ruled out.

Mumbai- Chennai

130 kmph on the existing alignment over the 28-km Bhor ghat gradient between Karjat and and Lonavala is also ruled out.

In addition, the Mumbai Chennai route is yet to be fully doubled and electrified. Work is on to double/electrify the patches between Bhigwan -Mohol and Hotgi-Kalaburagi the sections remaining to be doubled and electrified. This has prompted CR to run many trains between Pune and Wadi hauled by a diesel loco but without detaching the electric loco at Pune. Once Wadi is reached, the diesel loco is detached and the electric loco hulas the train for the rest of the journey (hook on-hook off).

However, the exclusion of Bhusaval-Itarsi-Jabalpur-Naini a 900 km line is inexplicable. The line connects the West to the North /North East and Eastern parts of India.

The sectional speed on the route is 110 kmph and has only been fully doubled on February 20, 2020 after the doubling of the 8 -km stretch between Sontalai and Bagra Tawa station between Itarsi and Jabalpur. However, full electrification of this route likely to be completed by March end 2020 with works going on between Satna and Katni. Until then, diesel locos are used in this 95 km section in the hook on-hook off mode.

In sum, it is imperative for IR to first do the doubling and electrification of all sections in the GD-GQ routes besides strengthening the track geometry in curves, gradients and ghat sections. Only then, mission 130-kmph will succeed.

Photo: Vishal Khare, Others

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About the Author: RailPost News Desk

4 Comments

  1. All the technical action to be taken is fine. But if the stops are provided at various station, even though the speed is 130 kms.the time cannot be achieved because the arrival and departure from the station takes longer time. For eg. At Pune the time take to arrive from the outer is 15 min and to depart from station is 10 min in addition to the stay at station. Unless the train comes to station by 30km speed and depart 30 km, the proposal to speed up by 130 km is waste. Consider the upgradation of all stations.

    1. Between ghorpadi and patas 130kmph speed possible. To increse speed double distant signal is necessary. Railway board should approve provision of double distant signal on all route B where speed 130kmph can be achieved.

  2. I was comparing time table for 12810/12809 Mumbai Howrah Mail today versus 2/1 Bombay-Calcutta Mail in 1977 and it was interesting to see that the speed after 43 years is still the same. In 1977, the train took about 34 hours and it takes 33 hours now. And back then, it had a mix of electric and diesel options, far lower HP locos than exist now (WDPs were about 2400 HP, and WAM4s were about 3400 HP compared to WAP5/WAP7 that propel the Mail with 5500-6400 HP now).

    On top, largely due to multiple loco changes then, the train used to stop at several stations for 20 minutes as opposed to 5-10 minutes at these same stations it does now. So, taking out longer stops from back then, basically has no change in TT (with the exception of a few unnecessary stops that have been added since).

    Its also crazy to think that USA had faster trains running in 1930 than we do in India right now. A 130 kmph limit should have been a standard a long time ago.

    1. Its been a grave negligence and mismanagement that some of the important routes are not doubled and electrified yet and the pace of doubling and electrification is up only from 2016. Each of the Railway Minister was just out handing sops and introducing trains without any effort to upgrade the infrastructure. Also completion of the EDFC and WDFC would ensure that Delhi Mumbai and Delhi Howrah routers can be exclusively run for passenger trains and so easier to maintain as freight traffic shifts to DFC’s. Similarly other 3 DFC’s being planned to be completed in next 5 to 6 years. Its unfortunate that past governments were electrifying and doubling just about 1000 to 1500 km per year. We were in deep mess but things are looking good under the current regime. Though they miss deadlines but are thinking big and trying to make it efficient in terms of work between departments and accountability.

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