The Kolkata Rajdhani Express between Howrah and New Delhi may soon cut down its travel time by an hour and 30 minutes, thanks to ‘push-pull’ operations being tried out. Indian Railways decided to try out this system for trains like the Rajdhanis after the trainset Train 18 rolled out in 2018. With two locomotives at either end, trains with the ‘push-pull’ system operate like train sets.
“At 8.35 am on Tuesday, a 22-coach LHB rake started from platform 9 of Howrah for a trial up to Gaya. It had WAP7 locomotives at either end. The idea is to achieve a speed of 130 kmph between Howrah and New Delhi. It has been projected that such ‘push-pull’ operations for the Rajdhani will cut nearly 90 minutes from its travel time due to quicker acceleration and deceleration,” said Nikhil Kumar Chakraborty, CPRO, Eastern Railway (ER).
In this system, the two locomotives are hard-wired to act as one. When brakes are applied and released together, the time required for deceleration and acceleration is lesser. The system also provides more power to the train. Earlier this year, similar trials were conducted for the Mumbai Rajdhani by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), which then gave a certification to the train to travel at 130 kmph. This was then cleared by the Commissioner of Railway Safety. RDSO officials were present during Tuesday’s trials between Howrah and Gaya as well.
“During the trial, all parameters will be studied and the results recorded. The locomotive in the front is known as the Master Loco and the one at the rear is the Slave Loco. The two are connected both electrically and electronically through special couplers. The WAP7 locomotives are one of the most advanced and were from the Electric Loco Shed, Howrah. Apart from the principal chief electrical engineer, ER, other senior officials were present at Howrah during the start of the trial,” an official said.
While a trainset runs on distributed power technology with the wheels of all coaches having independent traction, in a push-pull system, power is concentrated at both ends. This technology has been adopted in several countries in the West. The RDSO has certain guidelines to ensure safety. For one, no effort can be made to run trains at speeds higher than that for which the tracks are intended. The locomotive at the rear should also never push harder than the pull of the front. That is why the one at the rear is called the slave and the front the master.
Source: Times of India