Gatimaan Express, the fastest train in the country, will now chug out of Delhi in March instead of February.
The semi high-speed train, with a top speed of 160 kmph, will cover the distance between Delhi and Agra Cantonment railway station within one and a half hours.
The train was expected to be launched in the third or fourth week of February but the inaugural run has now been postponed to March. Northern Railway, however, had not announced any official date for the launch.
According to sources, the long spell of fog this winter has resulted in the launch date being postponed. Northern Railway had communicated in writing to the Railway Board that it is ready to start the service once the fog season is over.
It was expected that the fog spell would be well over by mid February but the Meteorological Department expects foggy conditions to return and remain for a few more days.
“We are all geared up and all the necessary arrangements for the train’s high speed run are already in place but the launch is now going to be in March. We have got all the necessary safety clearances also,” said a senior Northern Railway official who didn’t wish to be named. “The exact date, however, will be decided by the Railway Board,” he said.
Six trial runs
More than six trial runs of the train have already been conducted on the 200-km-long track between Delhi and Agra and the service has also received the necessary nod from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).
The services were earlier scheduled to be launched in 2015 but due to certain concerns raised by the CRS, the launch was postponed.
Sources said that those technicalities have now been taken care of.
The Gatimaan Express boasts of a 5,400 horse power electric locomotive and 12 state-of-the-art coaches.
Northern Railway has fenced off the rail tracks at some locations and also upgraded the signalling system to be compatible with the semi high speed train.
Other features of train includes an emergency braking system, automatic fire alarm, passenger information system, television screens for each seats, sliding doors inside coaches etc.
Railways plans to run similar semi high speed services on other routes, which include Delhi – Kanpur and Delhi – Chandigarh services.
The train will cover distance between Delhi and Agra Cantonment within 1.5 hours