Railways plans to speed up

Train travel from Bengaluru to Chennai and Hyderabad is likely to get faster as the railways is planning to increase speed on the routes to 160 kmph. This means travel time between Bengaluru and Hyderabad (632km) is expected to come down to 5-7 hours from the current 10-12 hours. Similarly, travel time to Chennai (362km) may reduce to 3-4 hours from 5-6 hours.

The railways is planning to prepare a detailed project report to up the speed on these two routes. “The DPR will be prepared and then assessed. The idea is to upgrade these corridors to semi-high speed corridors (160 kmph),” said Aneesh Hegde, an official with the South Western Railway.

The DPR will determine the techno-economic feasibility of enhancing the speed to 160 kmph and provide technical inputs required for achieving it on each route. Sources said the actual speed will be lower even if the tracks are upgraded to 160 kmph as no train will continuously run at the top speed.

A senior railway official said it would be too early to determine the average speed of trains after enhancing the speed (up to 160 kmph), but the aim is to reduce travel time and ensure that all long distance routes can be covered in around 12 hours.

The zones through which the routes pass will have to prepare the report in two months, says a letter from the railway board dated November 3. While Southern Railway will be the nodal entity for work on the Chennai-Bengaluru route, South Central Railway will be responsible for Bengaluru-Hyderabad route. The report will assess the number of level-crossing gates, permanent speed restrictions, turnouts, conditions of track and fittings, bridge strength and requirement of fencing. It will also assess the existing signalling system, train protection and warning system for safety.

The DPR will look at existing facilities for maintenance of coaches and suggest an automated system to detect maintenance issues, auto washing plants and water recycling plants.

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