Tamil Nadu will get its quota of the superfast Vande Bharat between Chennai Central and Coimbatore next month but the journey time between the two cities will be almost be the same as Shatabdi express which takes seven hours cover the distance.
Vande bharat may reach Coimbatore a few minutes early compared to Shatabdi but the fares will be stiff, according to railway sources.
So long as the railway tracks are weak and the signaling system backward, the super fast trains between Chennai and Coimbatore will take seven hours to cover the 500 kilometer distance.
Currently the tracks can take an average speed of 110 kilometers per hour whereas Vande bharat trains operating in other parts of the country has an average speed of at least 150 kilometers per hour.
The civil works to reinforce the tracks have been completed and the railway lines are expected to be cleared for operation by the commissioner of railway safety by April.. “Once the sectional speed is increased to 130 kmph, the travel time of trains plying on Chennai - Jolarpettai (214 km) track will be cut by 10 to 15 minutes. Subsequently, the overall journey time between two cities will go down to less than 7 hours..
Currently, the 495 km Chennai-Coimbatore section is served by two super express trains and a Shatabdi express during the day. The Shatabdi express covers the distance in 7 hours. The permitted sectional speed in this section is 110 kmph. Railways are operating the slowest Vande bharat train between Chennai and Mysore.
The problems are the same weak tracks and obsolete signaling system all over Southern Railways.