Madurai

Vaigai Express breaks its own speed record

Passengers ensconced inside the Vaigai Express, while it zips thorugh the countryside, never know the various terrain it passes through, as seen near Manapparai.

Passengers ensconced inside the Vaigai Express, while it zips thorugh the countryside, never know the various terrain it passes through, as seen near Manapparai. | Photo Credit: File Photo

:

Vaigai Superfast Express broke its own record by reaching Chennai in the shortest duration of 6.40 hours on March 3. 

“It is a remarkable achievement by the coordinated efforts of locopilots, controllers and traffic staff,” said M. Arun Pandian, a rail fan. Mr. Pandian, who has been closely observing the daily timings of Vaigai Express for the past several years, said that the train had broken its own record of having crossed the 499-km stretch in 7.05 hours on its inaugural run in 1977 on metre-gauge section. 

Despite delay

On March 3, the train left Madurai with a delay of 21 minutes (owing to technical reason) at 7.26 a.m., but it made up for the loss when it reached Villupuram. The train reached Chennai Egmore at 2.07 p.m., which is 23 minutes ahead of schedule. 

A railway official said that it was possible because of the locopilots maintaining the highest permissible speed of 110 kmph throughout the journey. “They were ably assisted by the traffic controllers and staff throughout the route,” he said. 

The pilots had accelerated and decelerated the train at the right moments to stop the train at 10 stations. 

Though various factors have changed in favour of running the train speedier, it is an achievement considering the increased rail traffic and more number of stoppages. 

The train had only three stoppages when it was introduced on the anniversary of Independence Day in 1977. But now it has 10 stoppages, Mr. Pandian said. 

The train which was run on single line metre gauge tracks with diesel locomotive with lesser number of coaches (8/9 coaches) now runs on double line broad gauge tracks with electric locomotives.

“The locomotive of Vaigai Express has a modified gear to operate it at 100 kmph on metre gauge line while all other locomotives had a maximum speed of just 75 kmph in those days,” said a former locopilot V. Ramkumar. 

A retired locopilot, A. Ayyalu, who had worked on the Vaigai Express, said that the carriages were modified for the increased speed in those days. 

Vaigai Express, with a tight schedule, remained the fastest intercity express in the entire Indian Railways. 

Delhi-Lucknow Swarn Shatabdi, an intercity express takes only 6.40 hours to cross 512 km. “But the maximum permissible speed on that section is 130 kmph, while Vaigai Express too achieved the same feat despite the maximum permissible speed being just 110 kmph (with more number of stoppages),”  Mr. Pandian said. 


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 11:12:39 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/vaigai-express-breaks-its-own-speed-record/article65193731.ece