Of the two soon-to-be launched Vande Bharat Express trains from Mumbai, one is likely to reach the metropolis by Friday morning, while another is expected to be brought on February 6, railway officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to launch Vande Bharat Express trains on Mumbai-Solapur and Mumbai-Shirdi routes on February 10, they said.
Both the trains have been manufactured at the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory. These trains will be fitted with parking brakes, following which they will undergo trials in the hilly ghat section on the outskirts of Mumbai to check whether they need deployment of additional locomotives to cross this terrain.
"A Vande Bharat train reached Pune yard this morning and is expected to reach Mumbai tonight or early tomorrow. The train will undergo trials in the ghat section once it is fitted with parking brakes," a senior railway official told PTI.
"The second such train is expected to be brought on February 6," he said.
The Vande Bharat Express between Mumbai and Solapur is likely to run via the Bhor ghat (located between Karjat and Khandala on way to Pune) and is expected to cover a distance of around 455 km between the two places in 6.35 hours. On the other hand, the Mumbai-Shirdi semi high-speed train is expected to run via the Thal ghat (in Kasara on Mumbai's outskirts) and cover a distance of around 340 between them in 5.25 hours, they said.
Having a gradient of 1:37 that means for every 37-metre run there is a rise of 1 metre, both Bhor and Thal ghats are among the toughest Railway ghat sections in the county, officials said.
Hence, at present all trains passing through these ghats are hauled up by additional locomotives (called bankers) from the Mumbai side. The additional locomotives used for pushing trains from the rear in high gradient areas in ghats (mountain inclines or slopes), according to them.
In ghat sections bankers are used for pushing trains besides avoiding incidents of train roll back in case of parting of coaches. But the process of attaching and detaching bankers takes at least a few minutes, increasing travel time due to technical halts, an official explained.
However, to cut travel time, railway authorities have decided to run these semi high-speed trains on both the routes without attaching bankers.
The official said to do away with bankers in ghat sections, both Vande Bharat Express trains will be fitted with parking brakes, which will stop the train from rolling down on gradient, in Mumbai.
About 25 km-long Bhor ghat (also called Khandala ghat) is spread between Karjat and Khandala stations, while the 14 km-long Thal ghat (also known as Kasara ghat) is spread between Kasara and Igatpuri sections. Both the high gradient ghats have difficult terrain with multiple tunnels and high via-ducts.
So far, eight Vande Bharat Express trains have been launched on various inter-state routes, including the one between Mumbai and Gandhinagar.
Vande Bharat Express is an indigenously designed semi high-speed self-propelled train set of 16 coaches. The train reaches 160 kmph speed in just 140 seconds and better riding comfort for passengers. The train has a control management system for monitoring air-conditioning and every coach is fitted with passenger information and infotainment system.
Fitted with automatic plug doors with sliding footsteps and touch free sliding doors inside coaches, the train is equipped with aeroplane-like bio-vacuum toilets. The train is also equipped with 'kavach', a train collision avoidance system.