Talgo Train And Metrino Pod :-The Rail and Road in 21st century India:-
One of the major focus areas of the railway minister so far has been to reduce travel time by increasing the speed of the trains. The bullet train is a long term project. In the short term, he is focusing on how speeds can be increased without having to spend a bomb on revamping current infrastructure.
Towards that objective Indian Railways conducted the first trial run of Spanish Talgo train on the Bareilly-Moradabad rail route. Though it is capable of hitting a maximum speed of 200 Km/hour, the oscillation test was conducted at 115 Km/hr. The next trial will take place on the Mathura-Palwal route at a maximum speed of 180 Km/hr. This will be followed by the time validation trial on Delhi-Mumbai corridor. It is expected that the travel time will come down by at least five hours for this route when Talgo coaches are used.
Talgo Train :-
If one notes a racing track, the curves are ‘banked’, i.e. the curves are raised on the outer side, which makes the vehicle run inclined on them. If one doesn’t raise the outer side, a fast moving vehicle might fly off outside. This banking is done for a certain speed, if you bank too high and drive slow on it-one might just topple inside (think of a velodrome-can a cyclist drive slow on the curve?). Trains being big vehicles, would not easily fly off or topple easily.
The IR network is shared between slow moving freight and faster passenger trains. This created problems for engineers as they have to cater not only to the fast moving rajdhani/ shatabdi type trains but also to the slow moving goods trains.
When the train travels at faster speeds on curves not banked for that speed, the passengers in the train are discomforted, which limits the maximum speed potential of each curve. Trying to run faster trains on existing tracks is thus not easy. For high speeds, say 250 or 300 kmph, new tracks with flatter curves are generally laid.
For higher speeds, this discomfort can be overcome without modifying the tracks, if the vehicle is also tilted by right amount when the curve is negotiated. This tilting can be done by using actuators which tilt the vehicle body when a curve is sensed. Talgo comes with a natural tilting technology, a clever concept, where the superstructure of the coach tilts while negotiating a curve without powered actuators.
Talgo hopes to use tilting trains to negotiate curves at higher speed and achieve better run times.
Talgo makes coaches with patented design of wheel assemblies. Unlike, conventional rolling stock, the two wheels are not mounted on a fixed axle. Thus, the two wheels can rotate independently of each other, which reduces lateral forces (forces which sway the vehicle perpendicular to the direction of motion).
The energy saving of 30% as talked in several press releases is a bit overplayed and needs to be taken in with due caution. Another key aspect is the light weight of the coach due to use of aluminium and its alloys. This reduces the deadweight of the coach and makes it more energy efficient. This aspect of coach weight reduction can be implemented on all types of stock even without Talgo’s patented wheel arrangement.
Energy saving from a passive rolling stock occurs essentially on account of its lower mass (less weight to be accelerated and braked-more pronounced if sections are undulating or graded). Another energy saving component is the reduced number of wheels. Reduction of wheels happen by making two coaches share a pair of wheel under the vestibule.
#1 Physics mandate that the curves on road/tracks be banked (for certain speeds), otherwise a fast moving vehicle may fly outside (or topple inside if too slow). But trains are big and heavy and won’t topple easily but can cause discomfort to passengers. So running faster trains on Indian tracks can be risky. However, Talgo comes with natural tilting technology which tilts it by the right amount when it senses a curve. So, travel time can be cut drastically with minimum investment.
#2 The coaches are energy efficient due to two reasons. First, because of the light weight thanks to the use of aluminium and its alloys in its manufacturing. Second, because of the reduction in number of wheels as two coaches share a pair of wheel under the vestibule.
Another advantage is that due to its low weight, the train will accelerate more with less power requirement.
#3 A typical-20 coach Rajdhani has 80 axles, whereas a 37 Talgo coach train of similar length would have about 37-40 axles. So, Talgo saves on number of axles per train.
There are some concerns too.
#1 The Talgo coaches are shorter, about 13m as against LHB (Current Indian Railway stock) of 22 m. So, a 37-coach Talgo train is considered equivalent to a 20-coach Rajdhani.
#2 Talgo is a bogie-less design. It has been around for a long time but no major operators and manufacturers have employed it.
#3 Currently, a defective coach can be detached and a new one attached enroute. But in Talgo trains, this is not a possibility as two coaches share a pair of wheel.
However, the prospective benefits currently outweigh the concerns. Suresh Prabhu is targeting an investment not easy to come by. The biggest benefit of Talgo is that it obviates the need to lay new of Rs 8 lakh crore over the next five years to completely transform the railways but this is tracks and drastically reduces the travel time.
If the tests are successful, it will usher in new era for the Indian railways and train passengers.
Metrino Pod taxis
Transport minister is experimenting with interesting ideas too. One such idea is introducing Metrino pods on the Delhi-Gurgaon corridor. Last month, the Union Government gave its nod to the National Highway Authority Of India (NHAI) to go ahead with the project.
The pod taxi service is cost-effective, takes a lot less time to build compared to metro and monorail and doesn’t need any significant infrastructure investment.
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. Crunch of funds has forced both Prabhu and Gadkari to go for these cost-efficient options.
It’s a long way to go before we can pass judgments on the successes or failures of these experiments. For instance, the jury is still out on Metro even after its debut 15 years ago.
But one thing is sure. Both the ministers are trying their best to drag the Indian transportation to the 21st century.
Rare seabird flies into camera view
The earliest record of the bird is from the Andaman Islands dating back to 1870s at Ross Islands.White-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus), rare in India.
A paper on Indian Rarities 1 (in the journal Indian Birds: Journal of South Asian Ornithology) that said the bird, a pelagic, has been recorded eight times in the past 150 years in the Indian sub-continent. Pelagic birds frequent a zone of the sea or lake that is neither close to the bottom nor near the shore.
Phaethon lepturus is the smallest of the three tropicbirds recorded in Indian subcontinental waters. The species is a known resident on the Maldives archipelago and has been recorded as a vagrant visitor to the coasts of India and Sri Lanka in the past.
North Eastern Council likely to be upgraded as resource centre
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the recently held the North Eastern Council Plenary meeting, hinted at the possibility of upgrading the North Eastern Council (NEC) as a state-of-the-art resource centre capable of meeting the aspirations of the people.
He also dedicated to the nation the Doppler Weather Radar at Cherrapunji.
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The chief ministers and governors represent them.
The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong, and it functions under Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region(DONER)