In light of the government launching increasingly faster trains, discuss the challenges impeding faster railway transportation. Suggest some solutions.

 

On February 15, 2019, the inaugural Vande Bharat Express train on the New Delhi–Varanasi line was flagged off. On November 11 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially flagged off the first indigenous , semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express train in south India, sparking enthusiasm among the general public and mobility professionals.

Even if the general populace appears to be content, there are some valid worries.

Challenges:

  • The train’s quicker acceleration and deceleration are supposed to significantly reduce travel times, although the schedule only allows for a 10 minute time reduction between Chennai and Bengaluru, with an average speed of 78 kmph. 
  • The train departs from Chennai ten minutes ahead of schedule and arrives in Bengaluru twenty minutes sooner than Shatabdi does. 
  • The track is being renovated to a maximum permitted speed of 130 kmph, which would increase the average speed once completed. 
  • However, operating and technological experts believe that the journey duration would just be cut down to about four hours.
  • Both the problem of journey time and the scheduling itself must be addressed by Indian Railways. 
  • It raises the serious issue of whether our rails are ready for appropriate utilization of the train’s potential, or whether Vande Bharat trains will continue to run as showpieces while failing to deliver on their full promise. 
  • Due to the train’s design, which was intended to travel through fenced tracks, the possibility of livestock on tracks is genuine as demonstrated by numerous incidents. 
  • The Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah portions should be fence-lined and upgraded to 160 kmph, while a sizable portion of other parts should be approved for 130 kmph, since this would be the more prudent course of action for the introduction of these trains till those sections.

Way forward:

Railway zones can better prepare themselves for train maintenance by receiving a more targeted introduction. Since Vande Bharat has the nation’s attention, the Railways must now make sure that the “feel good” is fostered rather than lost.

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