October 5, 2016
Railways will replace loco hauled commuter trains with Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) and Main Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) to increase the speed on main routes across the country.
To begin with, it will be introduced on the Chennai-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai, Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi- Howrah and Howrah-Mumbai rail corridors under the Mission Raftaar project, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the ambitious programme said.
MEMU/ DEMU trains have a potential of average speed increment up to 20 kmph in comparison to loco-driven passenger trains. The average speed is reckoned as one of the key indicators of all the railway productivity and efficiency in operations and utilisation of assets.
Plagued with congestion and over-saturated network, railways desperately need to decongest the routes with increased train speed. The official said these six corridors are the principle routes of the railways known as Diamond Quadrilateral routes along with diagonals as they carry 58 per cent of freight traffic and 52 per cent of passenger traffic. For implementing this target on the six routes, railways require 1,048 MEMU coaches and 136 DEMU coaches.
An action plan has been drawn to achieve this target in three years, by ramping up the production of MEMU to 400-500 per annum in next three years as against 190 per year at present. According to railways, the Mission Raftaar project announced in the Rail Budget has now picked up and started yielding results.
Under this project, measures are being taken to raise average speed of both passenger carrying trains and freight carrying trains. The busiest Ghaziabad-Allahabad-Mughalsarai route which was taken up on priority basis under the project, for increasing average speed has now been successfully implemented. This was achieved by replacement of loco hauled commuter trains with MEMU and DEMU trains.
The Ghaziabad-Allahabad-Mughalsarai section is now free from conventional trains. While maximum speed of passenger trains has increased up to 130 kmph/160 kmph, but the average speed is hovering around 45 kmph. Maximum speed of freight trains has increased up to 75 kmph/100 kmph, but the average speed is around 24 kmph.
According to railways, average passenger train speed has decreased by 1 kmph in last five years while for freight train the speed has gone down by 2 kmph in last five years.