CHENNAI: You could soon save 30 to 60 minutes when travelling by train between Chennai and Mumbai, as the entire 1,260 km stretch has been electrified with double lines. On Tuesday, a second line in the last segment the 27-km Washimbe-Bhigwan section in Solapur division of the Central Railway — was commissioned.
Trains have been operated between Chennai and Mumbai for more than 100 years. Until a decade ago, they took 28 to 30 hours to make the journey. Despite changing from diesel engines to electric locomotives, the travel time remained high because trains were forced to make additional halts owing to lack of a double line.
This made trains on the route six to seven hours slower than other trains. Until 2020, The average speed on the Chennai-Mumbai section was less than 55 kmph, while on the Chennai-New Delhi, Chennai-Kolkata, and Chennai-Mangaluru sections, it was above 60 kmph.
In 2020, electrification of the single line was completed, reducing travel time to 23.5 hours. Doubling work on the Daund-Gulbarga section (224.9 km) between Karnataka and Maharashtra, and electrification of the Pune-Guntakal (641.37 km) section, were to be completed by 2018, but were delayed.
Doubling work on the last section between Washimbe and Bhigwan of the Daund-Gulbarga stretch was completed on Tuesday, an official from Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) said. “Now, trains can be operated without any halt. The reduction in travel time will be reflected in the next time table.”
The doubling work, which had been dragging for several years, was expedited after the railway board approved the operation of private trains in 2020. It has been proposed to operate 152 pairs of trains on 109 routes including the Chennai-Mumbai section. Private trains are to be operated at 130 to 160 kmph.
The Southern Railway has already strengthened tracks so trains can run at 130 kmph on the Chennai-Renigunta section. The work is part of the proposal to increase the speed of trains on the golden quadrilateral between Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, and the diagonal routes, to 130 kmph.