Gatimaan’s record speed of 160 km per hour (kph) would be a marginal improvement over the maximum 150 kph clocked currently by Bhopal Shatabdi on the same route.
Indian Railways has surpassed its 28-year-old speed record for the fastest train on Tuesday with the rollout of the Gatimaan Express, a semi-high speed train service.
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.
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.
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.
“The launch of this train heralds a new era of high speed rail travel in India,” the rail ministry said in a statement.
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.
Gatimaan’s launch follows seven trial runs conducted by the rail ministry over the past two years.
The service will be launched using 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.
In order to ensure Gatimaan’s smooth ride with higher speed, 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. The train will still travel at 120 kph speed between Delhi and Tughlakabad and catch speed thereafter.
The rail ministry has also tilted tracks at a few places to negotiate curves at higher speeds.
Gatimaan Express 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.
Tickets will be priced at Rs 750 for AC CC and Rs 1,500 for executive CC.
This is around 50 per cent higher than the tariff for Shatabdi Express – Rs 515 for AC CC and Rs 1,010 for executive CC travel.
Rail ministry officials said the train has been equipped with high-end safety devices like emergency braking system and fire alarm systems, apart from modern facilities for passengers, including automatic sliding doors, free Wi-Fi, better quality of food, television screens on each seat and train hostesses to greet passengers.
The rail ministry had initially planned to launch Gatimaan semi-high speed service with a target of covering the Delhi-Agra journey in 90 minutes.
The target was relaxed to 100 minutes apart from the change in the originating station to Nizamuddin from the earlier New Delhi station in view of the speed obstacles experienced during the trial runs.
BRINGING IT UP TO SPEED
- 150 KPH: Max speed of Bhopal Shatabdi, fastest train at present
- 160 KPH: Max speed of Gatimaan Express
- 200 KPH: Max speed Gatimaan's WAP5 engine is capable of
- 199 KM: Approx distance between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Agra Cantt
- 100 MINUTES: Approx time Gatimaan will take to cover the run
- 5,400 HORSEPOWER: Capacity of the electric engine that will haul Gatimaan
- Rs 750: Price of AC chair car ticket on Gatimaan
- Rs 1,500: Price of executive AC chair car ticket on Gatimaan
- 10: Total coaches — 8 AC chair cars and 2 executive AC chair cars
- Gatimaan equipped with emergency braking, automatic sliding doors, fire alarm
- TV screens on each seat, train hostesses to greet passengers with flowers