200 km in 90 mins: Delhi-Agra high speed train sets new speed record
NEW DELHI: A passenger train set a new national speed record of 160 kilometres an hour (100 miles an hour) on Thursday during a test between New Delhi and Agra.
The introduction of high-speed links and bullet trains were one of the key poll campaign promises of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won elections in May.
Today’s test, part of the government’s plans to upgrade the ageing rail network, saw the train complete the 200 kilometres between New Delhi and Agra in around 90 minutes. The top speed clocked at 10 kilometres more than the previous record.
“This is now the fastest train in India,” Delhi divisional railway manager Anurag Sachan told reporters from inside the train. “We are recording all technical parameters during the trial run and hope to introduce it to the public by this November.”
While fast by Indian standards, the train is some way from the Japanese “Shinkansen” admired by Modi which reach speeds of 320 kilometres an hour.
Government is set to roll out extensive plans to overhaul country’s massive but loss-making network on Tuesday when the Modi government will present its first railway budget.
Observers say the railways have been neglected by successive governments over the past three decades of rapid economic growth during which car ownership has surged and low-cost airlines have mushroomed.
But it continues to be one of the main modes of long-distance travel for most, while increased use of the tracks for freight could help ease road traffic congestion.
Similar high-speed rail corridors are being planned between New Delhi and Chandigarh, and New Delhi and Kanpur 500 kilometres away.
“The cost of upgrading tracks, signal systems and other related infrastructure isn’t high on some of the corridors which already have other high speed trains,” Sachan told media.
“We are confident of expanding it once this project is completed,” he added.