The much-talked about trials of the Spanish Talgo trains will begin from May 29.
As part of plans to ramp up passenger train speeds to 160 kmph (kilometer per hour) and above, the Indian Railways have accepted the Spanish offer to conduct free trials on the existing broad gauge tracks.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) estimated a substantial cost towards upgrading signaling systems and strengthening tracks to increase speeds on the New Delhi-Mumbai route while the Spanish company claims 160 kmph can be achieved without upgrades.
Talgo coaches have wheels mounted in pairs but not joined to the axle. The bogeys are shared among a set of coaches rather than being underneath an individual coach. This allows the rail car to move on curves at higher speeds.
After arrival of the first lot of nine coaches from Spain last month, the company has decided to begin trials on the Palwal-Mathura section. The Bareli-Moradabad and the New Delhi-Mumbai lines are the other lines that have been identified for trials, which are scheduled to last three months. Sources said the traditional WAP-5 and WDP-4 locomotives of the Indian Railways will be used for the trials.
After the completion of the first round of trials by June-end, the second lot of 30 Talgo coaches will be shipped to India, officials said.
Railways minister Suresh Prabhu in past months has been experimenting with multiple ideas to ramp up speeds of passenger trains, which had more or less been static in past decades. Earlier this year, the Gatimaan Express – India’s first semi-high speed that clocks 160 kmph was launched on the Delhi-Agra route.
Prabhu recently set up a “Mobility directorate” at the Rail Bhawan to work on strategies to increase train speeds.