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From: apte <

Subject: Metroliners and Shatabdis

Date: 07 Jun 1991 10:44:00 -0500

Jishnu's message on Metroliners was most interesting. Looking at the
Amtrak schedule, since Metroliners make the N.Y.-D.C. run in 2 hrs 30
mins (fastest ones with one stop only); their average speed works out
to be ~ 90 miles an hour. Which is consistent with the max speed of
120-130 mph. I have travelled on an ordinary Amtrak train on that
sector, I believe it was the Palmetto, and I concur with Jishnu that
one can barely feel the speed. Which is a kind of a bummer, because
which of us has not experienced the top-of-the-world feeling of
standing at the open door of flying express train in India, with the
thundering noise making a modest 100 kmph SEEM like 300 Kmph :-).
The Amtrak conductor on my trip told me that the train's maximum speed
(non-metroliner) was 135 mph! I took that with some salt :-).

Just a brief comparison of IR's best vs Amtrak's best. 125 miles an
hour is approximately 200 kmph, so the max speed is about 40 kmph more
than the Shatabdis, and about 80 kmph more than the Rajdhanis. The
average speed of 85-90 kmph (~140 kmph) may be about 20 kmph more than
the Shatabdis. ( I don't know the avg speed of the Shatabdis, but in
general I have observed that IR average speeds are 35-45 kmps less than
the max speed.) So I guess, we don't do so badly as far as our best
trains go! Could somebody re-post the max and avg speeds of the
Shinkansen and TGV? I am sure they were posted earlier, but I seem to
have misplaced the messages.


From: apte <

Subject: Goof ???

Date: 07 Jun 1991 10:58:00 -0500

In the previous message, I assumed the Shatabdi's max speed to be 160
kmph and the avg to be 120 kmph. Now, I seem to recall the the
Shatabdi's max is 140 and not 160? If that's true, then Metroliners
probably beat the Shatabdis by 60 and 40-50 kmph in max and avg speeds
respectively. Could someone clarify?

Sorry if I goofed

From: vijayb <

Subject: Train speeds!

Date: 07 Jun 1991 16:12:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

In reply to Pushkar's comments:-

The WAP-3 that hauls the Bhopal Shatabdi Exp. can travel at a max. speed of
160 kmph., but track conditions limit the speed to 140 kmph. The max.
commercial speed of the TGV is around 186 mph. (~290 kmph.), but I believe that
the max. recorded speed on trial runs is more than 300 mph.


From: Ajai Banerji <


Date: 09 Jun 1991 17:38:00 -0500


The Indrail Pass gives unlimited rail travel within India in the
specified time period. It is available to non-Indian citizens as well
as Indians residing outside India. It can be purchased through the General
Sales Agents (details below), though any competent travel agent should
be able to fix you up. It can also be bought from major stations in India.
Main plus points include eliminating the need to buy tickets for every
trip, though reservations are necessary. There are special reservation
quotas on some trains for Indrail holders.
It is available in 3 categories: AC, First Class, Second Class. It is
not advisable to take the AC pass since not many trains have AC First Class.
The First Class pass also covers AC Sleeper and AC Chair Car.
GSA details:
Hariworld Travel, New York. 212-957-3000
Also in Toronto, 416-366-2000
AC First Second
1 day 65 29 12 (all in USD)
15 270 135 65
30 410 205 90
90 800 400 175

(Also available for 7,21,60 days. Kids below 12 pay half)
There are also odd rules like a foreigner can buy a pass for his/her
Another plus point is that you can make reservations upto 360 days
in advance, i.e. even through your travel agent in the US-though you
would have to have the pass in hand before making reservations.
Much useful information about the Pass regulations(in fact, about
the Indian Railways as a whole) can be found in "India by Rail", by
Roylston Ellis, published by Bradt Publishers. Some information is
also available in "Eurail Guide" and "Thomas Cook's Overseas Timetable"

From: jis <

Subject: Metroliners and Shatabdis

Date: 10 Jun 1991 09:49:00 -0500 writes:
> I have travelled on an ordinary Amtrak train on that
> sector, I believe it was the Palmetto, and I concur with Jishnu that
> one can barely feel the speed. Which is a kind of a bummer, because
> which of us has not experienced the top-of-the-world feeling of
> standing at the open door of flying express train in India, with the
> thundering noise making a modest 100 kmph SEEM like 300 Kmph :-).
> The Amtrak conductor on my trip told me that the train's maximum speed
> (non-metroliner) was 135 mph! I took that with some salt :-).

The AEM-7 Amfleet combination has been tested at upto 150mph and the
safety features on the NEC are generally adequate for running trains
at 150mph. But ride quality deteriorates beyond 125mph, so Amtrak and
FRA have chosen to restrict speeds to 125mph. This is consistent with
the market that Amtrak is in in the NEC, i.e. competing with airlines.
That requires smooth ride. It is often the case that trains with pure
Amfleet consists pulled by AEM-7s that are running late run at a speed
slightly higher than 125mph to catch up, although officially that is
not supposed to happen. I am surprised that the conductor mentioned
that speed to Apte.

Basically there is no difference between Metroliners and
non-Metroliner Amfleet consists as far as running gear is concerned,
so there is no difference in the max speeds either. non-Metroliners
simply have much larger dwell times (i.e. time spent at stations)
built into their schedules.

Train consists that contain Heritage Fleet equipment are restricted
to 110mph because the amount of braking available on the Heritage
Fleet equipment is inadequate for its weight at higher speeds. That
has seldom prevented Amtrak Engineers from pulling a train, containing
one or two Heritage Fleet cars among several Amfleet cars, at >110mph.
The Colonial that was involved in the collision several years ago
contained a Heritage Fleet coach and was doing 128mph. That was not
considered to be materially important by the NTSB as far as the
accident was concerned. Often one finds FRA personnel with radar speed
detectors patrolling the NEC tracks to make sure that Amtrak trains
are not overspeeding too much.


From: jis <

Subject: Train accident in Pakistan

Date: 10 Jun 1991 10:07:00 -0500

Anybody have any more details? I just learned that the passenger train
involved was the Rawalpindi bound Tezgam express. It crashed into a
stationary goods train near Ghokti station. Somehow I have the
impression that Tezgam is the Pakistani equivalent of the Rajdhani.
Is this impression accurate? The latest reports say that the death
toll now stands at 250.


From: Mukunda Kantamneni <

Subject: Re: Train accident in Pakistan

Date: 10 Jun 1991 09:23:00 -0500

> Anybody have any more details? I just learned that the passenger train
> involved was the Rawalpindi bound Tezgam express. It crashed into a
> stationary goods train near Ghokti station. Somehow I have the
> impression that Tezgam is the Pakistani equivalent of the Rajdhani.
> Is this impression accurate? The latest reports say that the death
> toll now stands at 250.
The news came in our campus (uiowa) news paper. It said
the driver of the Tezgam exp survived and according to him
he was given a green signal to pass thru the station where
the goods training is loading/unloading. The death toll
is more than 200. The article also said it is 3rd major
accident in that area during the last 18 months. Pakistan's
PM fired/suspended their Railway Chairman and other senior
officials. And the rest of the article is (the usual stuff)
about how rusty our systems are and how poorly we operate!
It also said the train is Pakistan's prestigious.


From: Ajai Banerji <

Subject: Railway news

Date: 12 Jun 1991 18:38:00 -0500

Railway news from Times of India

Further details were given about new trains to be introduced from July 1.
The present policy is to change the timetables only once a year on July 1.
Pride of place must go to the 2953/2954 A.C. Express which will run tri-
weekly from Bombay Central to New Delhi. Incidentally the existing
Rajdhani still runs 6 days a week, so both trains will be available on
some days.
Timings: BCT -> NDLS -> BCT
17.45 10.50
16.50 10.10

These timings appear to be very similar to those of the Rajdhani.
This train will consist of ACC and AC chair only (though the Rajdhani
has AC sleeper too). It was mentioned that it will stop at Surat and
Sawai Madhopur(which seems odd; I feel what was meant was that these
stops are in addition to the existing Rajdhani stops).
Now we come to the 9033/9034 Inter City Express between Bombay and
Ahmedabad. This will run 6 days a week, and will have ACC, AC chair and
2nd class reserved seats. Timings:

13.45 21.25
05.00 12.40

Obviously there is a single rake. It will stop only at Borivli, Surat
and Vadodara.
(Pushkar was very keen on a new train on this route; when is he throwing
a party to celebrate :-)
More news on the Mankhurd-Belapur project. The last girder of the 1.87
km long Thane creek bridge was placed in position. This new route is 18 km
long with double track and electrification. The stations are Mankhurd, Vashi,
Jui Nagar, Nerol and Belapur.
3 persons were killed in an unusual accident between Ahmedabad and
Sabarmati. The Ahmedabad-Agra passenger collided head-on with the Kadi-
Ahmedabad passenger at a diamond crossing.
More about the accident in Pakistan: the accident site is on the Rohri-
Samasata section, roughly halfway between Karachi and Lahore. It is not
far from Sangi where about 300 were killed in a similar accident involving
the Multan-Karachi Bahauddin Zakaria Express last year. (Although this
train was named after a holy man, it did not seem to have been blessed).
This would probably have been the worst accident on the subcontinent. As
far as I could see, the worst accident in India was in 1981 on the Mansi-
Saharsa section when a local passenger fell into a river. In the official
records 270 were killed. But the Guinness book mentions that 800 were killed
in this accident which was the worst rail accident in history.

From: vijayb <

Subject: New trains!

Date: 13 Jun 1991 10:08:00 -0500

Hi Ajai,

Thanks a lot for the much-awaited info. Here are my comments:

1. Bombay- N.Delhi AC Exp.: It takes about 50 mts. more than the Rajdhani in
either direction. Pretty fast, considering that the Jammu Tawi Exp.
takes > 2 1/2 hrs. more than Rajdhani (between Bombay and N.Delhi). The
halts at Surat and Sawai Madhopur must be in addition to the Rajdhani halts
namely, Vadodara, Ratlam and Kota. How I wish they would now remove Kota
from the halt list of the Rajdhani, now that we have another train!
I suspect that the Sawai Madhopur halt is meant for Jaipur dwellers (and

I am curious to find out the loco(s) that will be used to haul this
AC exp. I have a feeling that the scenario will be similar to the Rajdhani
Exp. where a WDM-2 (or two WDM2s if the train is pretty long) will be
employed between Bombay and Raltam and a WAP-1 between Ratlam and N.Delhi.
I am not sure whether a WCAM1/WAM4 will be able to accompalish the job,
because of their lower max. speeds.

2. Bombay-Ahmedabad Inter City Exp.:- 7 hrs. 40 mts. seems slighty more
than what I had thought. Bombay-Vadodara could be covered in 5 1/2 hrs.
and Vadodara-Ahmedabad in about 1 hr. 45 mts., leading to a total run
time of 7 hr. 25 mts. (assuming a 10 mt. halt at Vadodara). I am
pretty sure than a WCAM-1 hauls this train all the way.

Two new superfast trains from Bombay! What more could I ask for?


From: vijayb <

Subject: Railway news

Date: 13 Jun 1991 11:09:00 -0500

You're absolutely right, Pushkar. The Bombay-Ahmedabad Intercity Exp. has
NOT been classified as a superfast exp., as its four-digit code does NOT begin
with a 2. But its avg. speed is reasonably close to those of other superfast
exps. in that route (except for the Rajdhani exp., which is on a different
level altogether). For example, the Frontier Mail and the Jammu Tawi exp.
(both superfasts) consume more than 5 1/2 hrs. between Bombay and Vadodara.

Also, why should the train stop at Borivali? Can't Borivali passengers
catch the train from Bombay Central, and use fast locals between Bombay
Central and Borivali?


From: apte <

Subject: Re: Railway news

Date: 13 Jun 1991 06:10:00 -0500

Thanx for the info, Ajai. I echo Vijay's sentiments: 3 cheers for the
new SUPERFAST trains! The Bombay-New Delhi A/C Express seems pretty
fast (close to Raj speed). The Bombay Ahemdavad Exp. seems rather
wimpy though; 5.5 hrs Bombay-Vadodara and 1hr 45 mins
Vadodara-Ahemdavad is not superfast in my book at least :-). But
they've chosen to run it at a rather crowded time on that route - the
Gandhidham Exp, Sayaji Nagari Express have timings pretty close to
those of this new Express in the UP direction if I recall correctly.
Well maybe they'll speed it up in the future!


From: vijayb <

Subject: IR magazine!

Date: 14 Jun 1991 09:24:00 -0500

Hi Folks,

I talked to the Business Manager, Indian Railways (S.C.Sharma) late last
night, and found out that one could subscribe to the Indian Railways magazine
via Air Mail, by paying $ 17, yearly. The cheque should be made out to:
The Business Manager, Indian Railways. Compared to the cost by sea-mail,
namely $8.5, doesn't $17 seem less for air-mail deliveries?

Also, the subscription need not start from the current month, rather one
could include back issues, too.... I should be sending in my cheque soon.


From: vijayb <


Date: 14 Jun 1991 17:00:00 -0500

Ramesh writes:
> Can you please post the address of the IR office?

Sure! The address is:-
The Business Manager,
Indian Railways
311, Rail Bhavan
New Delhi 110001

You need to make the cheque payable to "The Business Manager, Indian
Railways". Amount:- $17.

> P.S. There has been no or very little discussions about new trains in
> the south. I would appreciate if you can shed some light on this.

As far as I know, the Jammu Tawi - Mangalore Navyug Exp. was the last
"major" train introduced from the South. I expect to see some more
new trains, if and when I get hold of the July '91 time-table.
The Navyug Exp. is a weekly train and bifurcates into two at Erode, one
portion going to Tiruchi. It comes a close second in terms of the
total distance covered between terminii; the top spot being taken by the
Jammu Tawi - Kanyakumari Himsagar Exp.

Before that, a spate of trains was introduced from Cochin. These
include the Bombay -Cochin/Mangalore superfast Netravati Exp. (triweekly
the Dadar-Mangalore/Cochin Exp. (biweekly), the Hyderabad - Cochin Exp.
(tri-weekly?), the Guwahati - Cochin Exp. (weekly), the Howrah - Cochin
Exp.(triweekly), the Ahmedabad - Cochin Exp. (weekly),
the Indore - Cochin Ahilyanagri Exp. (weekly), and the
Varanasi - Cochin Exp. (weekly).


From: Ajai Banerji <


Date: 18 Jun 1991 09:14:00 -0500


By now all of you must have heard the shocking news of the massacres in
Punjab. In case anyone is interested, here is the railway angle.
The names of the trains involved were not mentioned. However, one
incident was at Baddowal, two stations away from Ludhiana on the route
to Ferozepur. This route is traversed mainly by short distance passenger trains, although there is a Sutlej Express between Ludhiana and Ferozepur.
The other incident was at Kila Raipur, two stations away from Ludhiana on
the route to Dhuri. Although this is not really a main line, this route is
traversed by a number of long distance trains like Navyug, Himsagar, Madras-
Jammu and Amritsar-Muri Expresses.
Let us see who becomes the Railway Minister now, and how many new trains
he introduces to his hometown :-)

From: Ajai Banerji <


Date: 19 Jun 1991 10:47:00 -0500


Since there was some discussion about the train services in Pakistan, I
thought this was a good time to take a closer look at the Pakistan section
of Thomas Cook's timetable. Some information is also taken from a recent
discussion on scp, though I don't know if anyone from Pakistan is on this
Their main trunk line runs from Karachi to Peshawar via Multan, Lahore
and Rawalpindi. Part of it is doubled. Electrification is limited to
about 270 km, from Lahore southwards to Khanewal. As this is a rather
short section, most long distance trains run on diesel even though
it is electrified. There are steep gradients while approaching
The other major trunk line is from Rohri to Quetta. This line
through the Bolan Pass involves long stretches of 1:33 and 1:25 gradient
-the Indian railways have nothing like this. The steepest main lines
in India are on the Thull Ghat and Bhore Ghat out of Bombay which
have 1:37, though they were electrified long ago.
There is also a wide network in interior Punjab serving cities like
Sargodha and Faisalabad.
The Pakistan Railways do not seem to have a group of premium trains
like the Rajdhani and Shatabdi. Only one train appears to have a premium fare.
This is the Shalimar Express between Karachi and Lahore. It covers 1219 km
in 15:30 hours with only 6 stops. The other fast trains like the Tezgam,
Awam Express and Khyber Mail take between 17 and 21 hours and with many
more stops. So we may say that the Shalimar Express is Pakistan's counterpart
of the Rajdhani. Our own Shalimar Express (which runs from New Delhi to Jammu
via Saharanpur) is quite miserable in comparision-it is not even classified
as superfast.
Let us take a look at timings on the Karachi-Rawalpindi section. This is
1506 km, roughly the same as Delhi-Calcutta.

Zulfiqar Express:32:30 hrs
Awam Express:24:30
Chenab Express:31
Khyber Mail:26:30

Thus the ill-fated Tezgam is the fastest train on this section. The Zulfiqar and Chenab
do not run fully on the trunk line as they divert to serve other cities.
It will be instructive to compare these timings with Delhi-Calcutta. But remember
that Pakistan's infrastructure is worse than India's-less electrification as
well as long stretches of single track.
Their equivalent of the Himsagar Express would be the Khyber Mail, Awam Express
and Chenab Express, which all run from Karachi to Peshawar. The Chenab however
bypasses Lahore and runs via Faisalabad.
A few other long-distance trains include:

Bolan Mail:Karachi-Quetta
Bahauddin Zakaria Express: Karachi-Multan
Abbaseen Express: Peshawar-Quetta
Chiltan Express:Lahore-Quetta
Allama Iqbal Express:Karachi-Sialkot
Super Express: Karachi-Sargodha
There are a few others with ordinary names like Karachi-Lahore Express
and Quetta-Rawalpindi Express.
(Also,there are a lot of short-distance expresses out of Lahore)

They seem to be fond of naming trains after historical
figures. The Zulfiqar is undoubtedly named after the former PM-
it even bypasses the main line to touch Larkana, the hometown
of the Bhuttos. There is also a Kushal Khan Khatak Express
between Jacobabad and Peshawar. (I don't know who this person
was, but this must surely be the longest name for any train in the sub-continent.) There do not seem to be any trains named after Zia-ul-Huq or Ayub
Khan, though I believe the replacement of the famous Lansdowne Bridge
at Sukkur is called the Ayub Bridge.
It might be an interesting exercise to compare average speeds of their
expresses with ours.
There is a rather interesting book called "Couplings to the Khyber" by
P.S.A. Berridge, which is a history of the erstwhile North Western Railway
with a stress on civil engineering especially bridges. The writer seems
to have been the chief bridge engineer of the NWR shortly before
independence. Most of the old NWR is now in Pakistan, but there are also
a few chapters on the Simla and Kangra Valley lines.
There is a lot of interesting material on the famous mountain lines like
the ones through the Khyber Pass and the Bolan Pass.
One sad news from the current Thomas Cook timetable is that passenger
service on the Khyber route is now suspended. For the last few years
there used to be only one train a week.

From: Ajai Banerji <


Date: 20 Jun 1991 11:25:00 -0500


Many IRFCA readers undoubtedly feel the need for a current Indian timetable.
Here are a few ways in which you can get the information.
The Railway Board used to publish all the 9 timetables bound together
upto around 1977, when they started the "Trains at a Glance". Admittedly,
this makes it a bit easier for the layman to find his train, but the true
rail fan misses something. There is still a all-India Hindi timetable
apparently published in Delhi, although it is difficult to find.
So, we have to get hold of the zonal timetables, though it is rather
difficult to get all 9. However, I once found a timetable of the NF railway
at the main bookstall at Delhi Jn.
The only alternative is Bradshaw which is published by a private company.
It is rather badly printed and I suspect that they have arbitrarily deleted
timetables for a few smaller branch lines.
This is published by W.Newman &Co Ltd.
(Timetable Division)
3, Old Court House Street

They will send a copy by airmail for Rs 95 (a few months ago). It is a good
idea to place an order now, as the timetables will change from July 1.
Another possibility is Thomas Cook's Overseas Timetable, which can be ordered
in the US from 1-800-FORSYTH. It now costs around $25, but will probably be
worthwhile since it gives timetables for all countries(except Europe).
It gives around the same level of detail as TAAG.
It may be possible to get TAAG from Hariworld Travels for $3. These are
the GSAs for the Indrail Pass in US and Canada.
In the last few years in India, I used to travel at least once a year
from Cochin to Jaipur and/or Saharanpur. I tried to collect as many of
the zonal timetables as possible. For SR,SC,CR,WR and NR there was no problem.
Generally I could get the SE timetable at Nagpur. Agra Cantt and Agra Fort
were good places to find timetables -since, between the two of them, they
cover CR,NR,NE and WR. The only one which constantly eluded me was ER,
though I suppose it would have been available at Delhi. I did find an NF
timetable in Delhi once, but never one from ER.

From: Ajai Banerji <A.AJAI@Macbeth.Email

Subject: Thomas Cook's Timetable

Date: 21 Jun 1991 21:37:00 -0500

I have referred to Thomas Cook's Timetable a few times earlier. Now
that IRFCA is slowly turning international(should we change the name:-) )
I feel thateven at $25 this is a worthwhile investment. It gives details
of train services in all countries outside Europe.(There is also a
European timetable). You could use this to plan your journeys on trains
that you may never see, such as
The Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Khabarvorsk(only 170 hours)
A pity that you cannot go all the way to Vladivostok as it is a restricted
The Blue Train from Cape Town to Johannesburg-but your Indian passport
is not even valid for South Africa. Anyway, I wonder if they even
allowed non-whites on this train.
The Sydney-Perth Indian Pacific;described in one book as the second most
luxorious train journey in the world.(First place goes to the above
Blue Train)
The Peshawar-Landi Kotal local through the Khyber Pass (alas, not
running now)
However, as I am likely to move to Vancouver soon, I suppose I will
travel across Canada one day. A preliminary study shows that the
coast-to coast trip from Halifax to Vancouver can be done in roughly 6
days, with changes at Montreal and Toronto.
(No replies to this account; it will vanish very soon)

From: C. S. Sudarshana Bhat <B536HIND@UTARLVM1.EMAIL

Subject: Railway Ministry

Date: 24 Jun 1991 14:58:00 -0500

Seems like Narasimha Rao decided that MR Scindia had done enough good work for
the Railways. What do you think Jaffar Sharif (sp.?) has in store for the
common man, Ajai? More trains along these lines:

Bangalore - Jammu Tawi Express
Bangalore - Guwahati Fast Passenger (a week each way - single rake - bimonthly
express - only luxury class) ...
Bangalore - Ahmedabad Mail (via Vasco and Bombay Central)

Ok, ok, I have assumed some routes currently inexistent, but so what ...?
These are just thought trains.

A busy-body in Texas...

From: vijayb <

Subject: Bangalore trains!

Date: 25 Jun 1991 14:51:00 -0500


Bangalore is not well connected with U.P./Bihar. So, one can expect trains
from Bangalore to Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Varanasi and Patna. And I agree with
Mr. "Busy" Bhat that a train might be introduced between Bangalore and Jammu
Tawi. This would most probably follow the route of the original Karnataka Exp.
till Delhi, namely, Jolarpettai-Renigunta-Gudur-Vijaywada-Nagpur-Jhansi-Delhi..
...... And, I would like to see a superfast Bombay-Bangalore exp., unlike
the snailer at present (the Udyan Exp.)

The frequencies of the existing Bangalore-Ahmedabad Exp., and the Bangalore-
Guwahati Exp. might also be increased.


From: apte <

Subject: The mystery of Gorakhpur

Date: 25 Jun 1991 10:46:00 -0500

Vijay's post about possible new trains between Bangalore and U.P.,
brings me to the enigma of Gorakhpur. I've never been to the place
inspite of living in Varanasi for 4 years; but can somebody tell us if
it is *really* a v. important city in U.P.? I always had the
impression that Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi etc... were the
"big guys" of U.P. But there seem to be more trains originating from
Gorakhpur and fanning out to the length and breadth of the country than
any of these other cities. What gives?

What other new trains from Bangalore? How about Bangalore-Calcutta?
As far as I know, there is no Bangalore-Howrah train; maybe one of the
new Guwahati-South India trains goes thru Bangalore: I am not sure.
Actually, come to think of it, its surprising that a Howrah-Bangalore
train was not introduced earlier, since the route is really simple: it
has to follow the Madras route upto Gudur, and then cut across
Reningunta-Jolarpettai to Bangalore.


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