DH News Service:
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday flagged off the Duronto Express – India’s fastest non-stop train that will cover the 1,454 km distance between Sealdah in West Bengal and New Delhi 90 minutes quicker than the Rajdhani.
“This new superfast express that will run at 130 kms per hour, will take 16 hours and 30 minutes to complete the journey as against 18 hours being taken by the normal Rajdhani express,” Ms Banerjee said after flagging off the train from Sealdah Station. “The next Duranto train, Howrah- Mumbai Yuba Express is almost ready and we’ll shortly have its inaugural run.”
While stating that railways have been striving hard to fulfil all the promises made in the budget for 2009-10, she claimed all the 14 Duranto versions will be on track before the stipulated time. “And there can be one or two more of it,” she added without elaborating from when they would commence operations.
The Duranto will have three operational stoppages during its journey, but no commercial one. The Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express has six commercial stoppages at the moment. According to her, speed of other superfast trains like Kalka which presently run at 110 kms per hour, will gradually be raised to 120 kmph. Fares have been kept lower than those of Rajdhani though all the coaches are air-conditioned.
Incidentally, the train sports an environmental-friendly design that was sketched by the Minister herself. Brushing aside all speculations that the new type of specially-designed coaches might jump the rails at such a high speed, she said the coaches have been certified by the railway’s technical safety chief D K Roy. The train is built of stainless steel, which is lighter, anti-corrosive and more durable than the conventional ‘cotton steel’. Another important safety feature is the central buffer couplers whose enhanced load capacity makes the train derailment-proof.
Besides safety and hygiene features like dustbins and fire extinguishers, the trains have sleeker designs for bottle holders and switches, mobile charging points, sliding transparent doors between coaches, and LED night lamps instead of regular fluorescent lights.
The Sealdah-New Delhi Duronto will have one AC I-tier coach, three AC II-tier coaches, four AC III-tier coaches and five economy AC III-tier coaches besides generator cars. The Duronto rakes comprise ICF coaches used in the Rajdhanis and Garib Raths earlier. The Garib Raths had AC III-tier coaches that could accommodate more passengers.
Each Duronto coach is 24 metres long, compared to the regular coach length of 22.3 metres.