The railway ministry has instructed its zones to complete the upgradation work of tracks and other associated facilities by March 2022, to enable passenger trains to run at 160 kmph on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes.
Most sections of these railway corridors are likely to get barbed fencing which is required for allowing trains to run at that high speed, sources said.
The respective divisional railway managers have been asked to avail longer blocks on tracks considering that currently very few passenger trains are being operated. They have been asked to start the work from next month. Currently, the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors have potential speed of 130 kmph.
It is also probable that in the near future not many new passenger trains are announced as majority of the 230 trains being run currently have less than 80% occupancy.
The instruction from the railway ministry came days after prospective private bidders for operating express trains had raised questions on how they could be expected to run trains at 160 kmph when the tracks are not ready. The second pre-bid meeting is scheduled this week.
In August last year, the Union Cabinet had approved plans to upgrade the speed of trains on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata by 2022-23. The railway ministry has also announced that private operated trains would be operational by April 2023.