‘Railways can make money from Shatabdi Express by using Talgo trains’

Pratim Ranjan Bose Kolkata | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 11, 2017

Spanish train-maker has offered up to four rakes on lease for a maximum of 10 years

Spanish passenger train-maker Talgo claims the Railways can make profits from Delhi-Amritsar and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Expresses at the current fare structure by running the company’s light-articulated coaches on lease. This is over and above the opportunities for time savings.

As per the last trial on the Delhi-Mumbai route, the Talgo train clocked an average speed of 105 km/hour despite 66 more restrictions (stoppages or speed restrictions) than the Rajdhani Express running at 85 km/hour with LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches. Talgo covered the distance hours ahead of Rajdhani.

It is not clear if the Railways currently makes money from Shatabdi services as there is no strict profit-and-loss estimate on a train to train basis. Overall, the Railways lose money on passenger service and cross-subsidises than through high freight charges.

As part of a market-making exercise, the company recently proposed to offer up to four rakes (trains) on lease for a maximum of 10 years.

The rental is inclusive of the maintenance cost.

According to Subrat Nath, Area Director (Asia-Pacific), Talgo, the profits will come from 30 per cent lower fuel cost in dragging Talgo coaches, compared with heavier LHB coaches, and lower cost of maintenance due to fewer number of wheels.

To carry 1,000 passengers, the Shatabdi Express requires 20 LHB coaches with a total of 160 wheels. In comparison, Talgo will require 28 coaches with 58 wheels.

Being lighter, it can also accelerate faster than conventional coaches, thereby clocking a higher average speed.

Nath says the semi-high-speed train can peak up to 160 km/hour without any additional investment in track or signalling from the Railways. It can run at 220 km/hour with additional investments in signalling and fencing the rail lines.

“During the trial on the Rajdhani route, we clocked a 105 km/hour average speed with a peak speed of 140 km/hour. The average speed can be improved up to 160 km/hour,” Nath said. Higher average speed ensures higher utilisation-ratio of tracks.

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Published on April 11, 2017
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