Alright, if we talk about some fastest trains in Indian Railways then we have Gatimaan Express, Bhopal Shatabdi Express Hazrat Nizamuddin Bandra Terminus Rajdhani Express and list goes on, where they run at speed more than 130 kilometres per hour. We have also some medium speed trains which can run at 100 kilometres per hours, numbers of this type of trains in Indian Railways abounds. But there are also some slow trains in our Indian Railways which cant go above 20 kilometres per hour, yes they are that slow. Normally these trains run on narrow and meter gauge in hilly areas of Rail route.
Now if we see some slowest trains in our Railways then we have Metupalayam Udagamandalm Meter gauge passenger Train in Tamil Nadu which runs at an average speed of 10 kilometres per hour. This train covers the total journey of 46 kilometers in 4 hours and 50 minutes. So considering the average speed you can imagine how slow this train is.
This question is very interesting as we already know the reasons why our trains which runs on the broad gauge are slow so what is different in Meter and Narrow gauge trains? Let’s see!
Hilly Areas and Lots of Curves
This is the main reason which makes narrow and Meter Gauge Trains of our Indian Railways slow. Most of our meter and narrow gauge trains run in Hilly areas. In the hilly area, tracks have more curves compared to curves on our conventional track. Hence we see trains running on hilly areas has less avg speed below 20 kilometres per hour. Narrow and meter gauge trains running on flat land has more avg speed.
Technology is also an important reason why narrow and meter gauge trains are slow. We have seen while traveling in some narrow and meter gauge trains that technology is not so developed, means technology which was used 50 to 70 years earlier has been still in practice. The signaling system is outdated which restrict speeds of this trains. It is possible for narrow and meter gauge trains to touch a speed of more than 100 kilometres per hour. There is an example of a meter gauge train in Malaysia named KTM ETS which runs at an average speed of 140 kilometres per hour. How is this possible? Well, Signalling and other infrastructure are so modern and proper which allows this meter gauge trains (3 ft 6 in ) to touch a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour.
Our premium trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi has this much speed on 5 ft 6 in Broad gauge which has more stability than 3 ft 6 inches meter gauge.
Locomotives which pulls this narrow and meter gauge trains are not so powerful. Narrow gauge diesel locomotives which named as NDM or ZDM, N and Z are used to describe narrow gauge tracks (N Narrow gauge of 610mm and Z narrow gauge of 762mm). NDM and ZDM have a power output of 300 hp only. While locomotives of meter gauge YDM,( Y-meter gauge, D -diesel, and M mixed ) have power output less than 1500 hp. This Low Powered locomotive can’t be used for high speed.