Tilting trains will only improve cornering speed by 15%: K-Rail chief

Tilting trains will only improve train speeds on bends through existing tracks by up to 15%, said K-Rail general manager Ajith Kumar V., in an interaction with Engineers Club members. here late Friday night.

A few engineers countered, saying that tilting trains negotiate curves at much faster speeds than conventional trains in a few dozen countries, including Europe.

They also talked about two versions of tilting trains they traveled on – active and passive – one that could be zeroed for use in Kerala (about 600 curves on the state network – one of the highest turkey). When such trains can use the existing broad gauge track, why invest in the ₹63,794 crore SilverLine project which will have serious financial and environmental implications, they asked.

In his response, Mr. Ajith Kumar said that tilting trains would only improve speed between 10% and 15% on curves which constituted about 36% of the total rail length in Kerala. “It will save about 10% time. This is one of the reasons why the Talgo tilting trains which were tried on the New Delhi-Mumbai corridor were abandoned by Indian Railways. However, such trains could be used via the SilverLine alignment, if the maximum speed is to be increased from 200 km/h to 250 km/h,” he said.

Alok Verma, a critic of SilverLine, had quoted how operating tilting trains on existing wide gauge tracks, after reinforcing the tracks and introducing automatic signalling, would increase train speeds by 30%.

Mr. Verma, who retired as chief engineer of the railways, was among the experts who worked with the Parisian consultancy Systra to prepare the SilverLine feasibility report.

“All of this will only cost ₹15,000 crore, less than a quarter of SilverLine’s current estimate, and will be a cost-effective alternative,” he said. The Hindu the Saturday.

“This will enable tilting trains to cover the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod distance in seven hours. This can be further reduced if steep curves are gradually realigned.

Refuting Mr Ajith Kumar’s claim about the speed of tilting trains, Mr Verma said that Indian Railways had sent him to Sweden to study tilting train technology.

“It can be adopted regardless of the size. Even countries like Spain, which have a large size, have been exploiting them for 25 years. I am ready to have a transversal discussion with the heads of K-Rail and Systra. Kerala is the appropriate state where the technology can be introduced as there are many curves on the railway tracks. China adopted tilting train technology fifteen years ago for its first high-speed train,” he said.

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