The semi-high speed train of 160kmph on the Delhi-Agra route was flagged off from New Delhi Railway Station and is expected to reach Agra in 90 minutes -- 30 minutes faster than the Bhopal Shatabdi Express, which currently is India's fastest train between the Delhi and Agra stretch.
Today's trial run will see the train travelling upto a speed of 160 km per hour. If everything goes as planned, the service will start in November this year.
On board the train with an electric locomotive of 5400HP are Commissioner Railway Safety PK Vajpayee, Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) of Delhi and Agra Divisions, and other senior officials involved with the project. To ensure a smooth test run, the Railways has deployed RPF personnel along the route.
The test train, made of coaches used in the Bhopal Shatabdi express, is expected to reduce travel time between Delhi and Agra from 126 minutes to only 90 minutes, a boon for tourists visiting Taj Mahal.
The train will be pulled by an electric locomotive which can go up to 200 kmph. Parts of the track will also have to be fenced, this work is expected to take about three months to complete.
The state transporter is making the semi-high speed train -- the first of its kind in the railways -- operational using its own resources. It is estimated that a cost of Rs. 15 crore would be incurred to make the track ready for the semi-high speed train, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.
The idea behind the project is to show that Indian Railways can run semi-high speed trains within the existing infrastructure with some alterations and minimum cost. The Railways plans to commercially launch the service in October-November and the project are expected to find a mention in the Rail Budget.