The Russian Railways will undertake a feasibility study aimed at upgrading train speeds on the 575 kilometre long Nagpur-Secunderabad route as part of a “government to government” agreement between the two countries.
RZD International, a special purpose engineering company established within the Russian Railways, will carry out the study that aims to increase the top train speed on the route from 120 kmph to 200 kmph.
“An agreement in the matter will shortly be signed”, ministry sources said.
While the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and France are associated with various modernisation and speed upgrade projects in the country, Russia will be making an entry in India’s rail sector for the first time.
In 2014, India announced a semi-high train speed plan envisaging speed upgrades on nine identified routes including Delhi-Chandigarh, Chennai-Hyderabad and Delhi-Lucknow-Varanasi.
At present, the Gatimaan Express – with a top speed of 160 kmph – is India’s only semi-high speed train that is operational on the Delhi-Agra route.
In line with the Indo-Russian protocol signed last October, a joint expert’s team of the two countries’ railways sector collected data on existing infrastructure on the route from last year’s December 6 to 15. “Preliminary study will begin in March”, officials said.
The stretch identified for the Russian engagement — broken up into the Nagpur-Ballarshah and the Ballarshah-Secunderabad sections — has 1,770 bridges and culverts 18 major bridges with a length of more than 100 meters, besides 61 kilometers of speed restrictions on account curves and weak foundation of soil.
In its preliminary observations, the Russian rail engineers suggested special treatment to the earth bed of the unstable sections and the construction of a dedicated communication and data transmission network to ramp up the communications systems.
The Russians have also said that the speed upgrade plan will entail the installation of cab-signaling devices in locomotives and have pitched in for mesh metal panels with a height of 2 meters alongside the tracks.
Since the Indian Railways does not have passenger cars that can move with a speed of 200 kmph or above, these will either be imported or manufactured indigenously through a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement with the chosen vendor.