On July 13, the high speed Spanish Talgo train broke the record of India’s fastest train, the recently launched Gatiman Express, by achieving a maximum speed of 180 km per hour on the Mathura-Palwal stretch.
It covered the distance of 84 km, which normally takes about 90 minutes, in 38 minutes. The train had nine empty coaches hauled by a Varanasi-made 4,500-HP diesel engine.
“The feeling of the train running at such a high speed was amazing. Before the trial, we were a bit worried about the performance of the coaches at 180 kmph, but they ran exceptionally well, including on curves,” said Vivek Sharma, second loco pilot in the engine of the train, to Times of India.Lead pilot Sunil Kumar Pathak, the other driver in the train, added: “For me, the most striking part of the journey was the fact that an Indian diesel engine pulled the coaches at 180 kmph, a feat which no locomotive engine manufactured in the country had accomplished so far.”
Talgo consists of nine coaches — two executive class cars, four chair cars, a pantry car, a power car, and a tail-end coach for staff and equipment.
This is the second phase of trials for the train. It was supervised by engineers from Spain and Indian Railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow. About 20 more rounds of tests will take place till July 26, before the use and suitability of this train for Indian tracks is determined.
Sandbags will be placed on seats to simulate passenger weight in the third trial. The test run will take place between Mumbai and New Delhi, a distance of about 1400 km, and will attempt to achieve a top speed of 220 kmph. Talgo envisages that this 17-hour journey will be completed in 12 hours by the high speed train.
Talgo is a Madrid based manufacturer of high speed passenger trains. Its lightweight aluminium coaches are designed to run along curves without decelerating.
Talgo coaches weigh much less than Indian Railways’ coaches and also consume 30% less energy, besides helping reduce travel time of course.
“Today’s successful achievement is a major milestone in the history of railways and it takes us closer to our dreams of having high-speed train service on the existing railway tracks,” Dilip Kumar Singh, Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) of Agra, said, on behalf of Indian Railways.