Mumbai Vande Bharat: Before launch test trains to be on ghat sections

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Testing of Mumbai’s next two Vande Bharat trains will take place on the ghat sections, a railway official told the PTI news agency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to launch Vande Bharat Express trains on the Mumbai-Solapur and Mumbai-Shirdi routes on February 10.

The Vande Bharat Express between Mumbai and Solapur is likely to pass through Bhor ghat (located between Karjat and Khandala on the way to Pune) and is expected to cover a distance of around 400 km between the two places in 6.35 hours.

The Mumbai-Shirdi high-speed train is expected to pass through Thal ghat (at Kasara, on the outskirts of Mumbai) and cover a distance of around 340 km between them in 5.25 hours.

At present, all the trains passing through these ghats are towed by additional locomotives (called bankers) from the Mumbai side. According to the officials, they expect to receive the trains from the Chennai-based Integrated Coach Factory within the next week and thereafter, trials will begin immediately on both ghat sections.

Bankers are used to push trains on ghat sections, as well as prevent train backing incidents in the event of wagon departure. But the process of onboarding and untethering bankers takes at least a few minutes, adding to travel time due to technical shutdowns, an official said.

To crack down on bankers on the ghat sections, both Vande Bharat Express trains will be equipped with parking brakes that will prevent the train from rolling on a slope, the official said. Having a slope of 1:37 means that for every run of 37 meters there is a rise of 1 meter. Both the Bhor and Thal ghats are among the most difficult sections of railway ghats in the county, according to officials. The almost 25 km long Bhor ghat (also called Khandala ghat) stretches between the Karjat and Khandala stations, while the 14 km long Thal ghat (also known as Kasara ghat) stretches between the sections of Kasara and Igatpuri. Both ghats have multiple tunnels and raised shafts.

So far, the Center has launched eight Vande Bharat Express trains on various interstate routes, including one between Mumbai and Gandhinagar.

It is a self-propelled semi-high speed train of indigenous design with 16 carriages. The train reaches a speed of 160 km/h in just 140 seconds and provides greater travel comfort for passengers.

Vande Bharat Express trains have a control management system to monitor air conditioning and each carriage is equipped with passenger information and infotainment system. Equipped with automatic plug doors with sliding steps and touchless sliding doors inside the carriages, the train is equipped with biovacuum toilets similar to those on an airplane. The train is also equipped with ‘kavach’, a system to avoid train collisions.

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