Trains passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand on the existing Howrah-New Delhi rail route will run at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour, Hindustan Times’ sister publication Live Hindustan reported. The infrastructure for increasing the average speeds of passenger trains on the Howrah-Delhi route is being improved as a part of ‘Mission Raftaar’ announced in the Railway Budget 2016-2017.
Rajesh Kumar, chief public relations officer for East Central Railway, told Live Hindustan that the speed of trains on the Grand Chord railway section will increase from 130 to 160 kmph. After the completion of the ongoing project under ‘Mission Raftaar’, the distance between Delhi and Howrah could be covered in just 12 hours.
An estimated ₹6,975 crore will be spent on the improvement of infrastructure for achieving such high speed on the 1,500 km long Grand Chord rail section, reported Live Hindustan. In the current financial year, the ECR has reportedly been allocated ₹408 crore for maintenance work.
In 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved two projects for raising the speed to 160 kmph on New Delhi- Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah routes. These corridors are part of Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals of Indian Railways which carry 52% of total passenger traffic and 58% of total freight traffic.
The action plan to improve mobility and increase average speeds of passengers and freight trains includes removal of speed restrictions, construction of Road Over Bridges and Road Under Bridges, right powering of trains and replacement of conventional trains by Main Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains and Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains, according to the then minister of railways Piyush Goyal in a written reply to Lok Sabha in 2019.