Shatabdis, Jan Shatabdis can match speed of Vande Bharat exp

Jan Shatabdi express, unlike Vande Bharat exp, carries 3 air-conditioned chair cars & 16 coaches of 2nd seating, is powered by WAP7 engine, which is capable of hauling train at max speed 160kmph

Shatabdi Vs Vande Bharat

Patna: The Patna-Ranchi Jan Shatabdi express, which was announced by then railway minister Lalu Prasad and flagged off by his successor Mamata Banerjee in January 2010, can reach the destination in six hours, like recently launched Vande Bharat Express with a lot of hype, if running schedule of the train is modified and allowed to run on the same track.

“Jan Shatabdi express, unlike Vande Bharat express, carries three air-conditioned chair cars and 16 coaches of second seating, is powered by WAP7 engine, which is capable of hauling the train at maximum speed with 160km/hour,” said the locomotive pilot of 12365, pleading unanimity. The LHB coaches of the train are also fit to run at the same speed, he added.

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Currently 12349/50 Vande Bharat Express, equipped with air-conditioned eight coaches, covers the distance of 379 kilometres via newly-built route connecting Hazaribag Town from Koderma and then drifting away from Barkanana to Mesra and Ranchi via picturesque Sidwar-Shanki route. The train travels from Patna to Gaya at the maximum speed of 110kmph and runs at the top speed of 130kmph between Gaya and Koderma for a shorter period. Average speed of the train is around 70-80kmph on the Barkakana-Mesra route, dotted with a string of tunnels.

The Jan Shatabdi express travels on old routes via Gomoh, Bokaro and Muri and reach Ranchi from Patna after covering a distance of 411km, which is 32km lengthier than the Vande Bharat express. Moreover, Jan Shatabdi has a total of 10 stops during the journey against five stoppages of Vande Bharat Express.

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NB Dutta, working president of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA)—a union of train drivers—said that the Jan Shatabdi express, which is powered by WAP7 and equipped with LHB coaches, which are of great build quality, can easily match the running of Vande Bharat express if provided with same kind of infrastructure and running schedule. “WAP7 runs at the top speed of 160kmph with 20-22 bogey haulage. The LHB coaches can also run safely at the speed of 160kmph,” said Dutta, also a former loco pilot.

Regarding the hype created over the launch of Vande Bharat express trains, Dutta said that Chittaranjan locomotive factory builds WAP7HS engines, which run at the top speed of 180kmph with haulage of 20-24 coaches. “Today Vande Bharat express are running at the top speed of 160km, which is nothing of great nature if compared with existing engines,” said AILRSA working president.

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Treating it as a common feat of the Indian railways, then railway minister Piyush Goyal had flagged off the WAP7HS engine virtually, unlike the Vande Bharat express trains, which are generally shown green flags at the stations in person by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is all about branding. Vande Bharat has nothing new to offer its passengers, except for 180-revolving chairs in the executive class. Kawach system is there in Vande Bharat for extra safety. However, speed and comfort wise, Gatimaan Express and Bhopal Shatabdi express, which run on WAP5 power, go up to the speed of 160kmph,” said a loco-pilot.

An engineer of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works said that they were working on WAP5A engine, which will be running at the speed of 200kmph. “The speed trial of the most advance locomotive could be done in the next few months,” he said, adding that the railways has been spending hugely on making train journey safer by building robust tracks and dependable signalling system.

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Dutta, however, said that the railway was currently working on the strategy to compete with airlines and earn more revenue by facilitating running of more Vande Bharat express trains. “The railway is providing airlines like treatment to passengers of Vande Bharat express and reducing the travel time considerably. However, the passengers will have to cough up for that. In the next few months, Vande Bharat will come equipped with sleeper coaches, which would be phasing out Jan Shatabdis, Tejas and Shatabdis. Obviously, the passengers will have to pay more for it. The poor people, who can’t afford luxury of Vande Bharat express will have to suffer,” he added.

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