South East Central Railway (SECR) is slowly inching towards running of trains semi high speed as it has increased sectional speed in Nagpur-Durg-Nagpur section to 130 km/hr. About 37 pairs of Mail/Express and Rajdhani trains are running in the Nagpur Division of SECR whose travel is likely to be cut down marginally with increased speed of long distance rakes. Initially about 19 pairs of trains with LHB rakes would start running with new speed that would cut down travel time on the 262 km section. Nagpur-Bilaspur route is one of the busiest sections of Indian Railways and part of high density network as it also has significantly high movement of goods rakes. In fact, SECR Zone with headquarters at Bilaspur is leader in haulage of coal and single largest contributor of revenue from the black diamond. The route is also identified for running of semi-high speed trains; it means minimum speed of 160 km/hr and slowly but surely Railways is aiming for the same.
A notification issued by Operating Department of Bilaspur Zone stated that the sectional speed would be increased on A route on Nagpur Durg-Nagpur to 130 km/hr. Significant safety measures have been put in places to allow train to run smoothly at increased speed. This includes usage of higher gauge of rail so that it can withstand wear and tear that may increase due to increased friction with advanced speed. Also switches used are heavier so that they withstand the additional pressure that would be generated with movement of trains. As per rough calculation, an average saving of half an hour from current time would be achieved due to increase in sectional speed. Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS), Eastern Region, Kolkata, after inspecting the line had authorised stepping-up the speed on A route of Nagpur-Durg to SECR Zone. The 18 other pairs of train on the route would also run with accelerated speed after their rakes are inducted with LHB coaches. These are light weight coaches having better spring suspension that allows for running trains at higher speed that is now the mantra of Indian Railways as it fights to stave of road sector that people are preferring increasingly. Similarly, Railways are also rolling out expanding the line capacity by laying of third and fourth line on Nagpur-Bilaspur route of SECR. At present, section from Dongargarh to Rajnandgaon is ready with third line and is awaiting clearance from CSR. Even with increased speed the section capacity is going to increase in time to come. Since current times of stoppages of long distance trains are already finalised, the new timings would be introduced in phases to accommodate changes due to faster running of trains.