Russian Railways to help India build faster trains
A feasibility study aimed at upgrading train speeds will be undertaken by the Russian government on the 575-kilometre long Nagpur-Secunderabad route. This is a part of a "government to government" agreement between Russia and India. RZD International, Russian Railways' special purpose engineering company, will carry out the study which aims to increase Gatimaan's top train speed from 120 kmph to 200 kmph.
Keeping in tune with Modi's "Make in India" campaign, the Gatimaan Express was developed indigenously. The coaches were built by Kapurthala Railway Coach Factory in Punjab, the bio-toilets (which have tanks underneath which convert human waste into liquid) were developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the interiors by other Indian companies. The cost of the train is around Rs.50 crore.
The final trial run of the Gatimaan Express, held on 22 March 2016, ended in tragedy when two children, aged 8 and 10, were run over near the Runkuta Station in Uttar Pradesh.
The Gatimaan Express will have two Executive Class coaches, and ten AC Chair Car coaches. It will also have "Rail Hosts and Hostesses" dressed in blue uniform, and a private service-provider has been tasked with carrying out end-to-end passenger interface activities. Several cuisines will also be served - Continental, Italian, South-Indian and North-Indian among others. It will also feature free wifi and automated doors.
Japan Railways' new mag-lev prototype (not in commercial use) is the fastest train in the world with a top speed of 603 km/hr. The fastest train used commercially is in Shanghai, China, with 431 km/hr top speed.
Fares for the Gatimaan Express have been fixed at Rs.750 for AC Chair Cars and Rs.1,500 for Executive Class. There will also be one-day and two-day package tours, priced differently for domestic and foreign travellers. The one-day tour will cost Rs.1,967 (domestic travellers) and Rs.3,197 (foreign travellers), while the two-day tour will cost Rs.14,243 (domestic travellers) and Rs.16,121 (foreign travellers).
The previous holder of the title of "India's fastest train" was the New Delhi-Bhopal-Habibganj Shatabdi, which boasted a maximum speed of 140-150 km/hr.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the much-awaited Gatiman Express, touted to be India's fastest train. The Nizamuddin-Agra Gatiman Express is the first semi-high speed service in railways, which will run at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour. The train, which runs six days a week, will start its journey from Nizamuddin at 8:10 AM and reach Agra at 9:50 AM.
In a display of its popularity among Indian masses, tickets for the first weekend journey of the Gatimaan Express have been completely booked. According to railway officials, the average rate of bookings were ranging between 40-50% between 6-7 April. However, there was 100% booking on 9 and 10 April, and several tickets were wait listed for the train's first weekend journey.
The Spanish Talgo train beat the speed record set by the Gatimaan express by clocking a speed of 180 kmph. The record was set during the third test run of the Talgo train along the Mathura-Palwal stretch. The train covered the 80 km distance in 39 minutes. Indian Railways said it would continue testing the Talgo's suitability for Indian tracks till 26 July.