With the maximum permissible speed on the Chennai-Jolarpet stretch being increased to 130 kmph, trains on the Chennai-Bengaluru route as well as on the Tirupati-Mumbai route will start running faster from February. The travel time is expected to be cut substantially as trains including Vande Bharat services will be able to run at a better average speed.
Vande Bharat trains take 4.25 hours to reach Bengaluru from Chennai, while Shatabdi Express takes 4.45 hours to cover the same distance, and this is likely to be cut by half an hour. According to the Times Of India, the travel time can be further reduced when the tracks on Jolarpet-Benglauru section, which comes under the South Western Railway, become ready.
Among the various measures being taken to increase the speed by upgrading the tracks are strengthening of bridges, straightening of curves, construction of walls where there is trespassing by people, enhancing signalling systems by providing automatic signalling or double distancing signals, and improving overhead cables.
The entire track from Chennai to Jolarpet will be ready to run trains at an average speed of 110 kmph to 120 kmph, as the Commissioner of Railway Safety is set to approve 130 kmph as maximum permissible speed on the Chennai-Renigunta via Arakkonam and Arakkonam-Jolarpet (144.54 km) stretches.
The ToI report states that trains on the Chennai-Mumbai route, too, will be able to run at a faster speed for 134.78 km till Renigunta. The maximum speed on the Chennai-Gudur section (134.3 km) was increased to 130 kmph in October, which was the first stretch to be converted for higher speed.
Work is being carried out to increase the speed on Jolarpet-Podanur and Chennai-Dindigul sections to 130 kmph, and the Southern Railway is also working to enhance speed of trains to 110 kmph on other major routes, the report says.