Withdrawal of proposal of diversion of Darjeeling Mail via KNJ-BPC and for its LHBfication

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Rumors are spreading about proposal of diversion of the most prestigious North-South Bengal , the 12343/12344 Sealdah- New Jalpaiguri Darjeeling Mail via a different route( via Krishnanagar City- Murshidabad – Azimganj- Malda) instead of current Burdwan-Bolpur-Malda route.

 Most importantly, the train gets a good priority in the current Burdwan – Malda route. And it can be easily speed up in this particular section as well.

 12343 has been allotted 03:44 hrs to cover from Bolpur to Malda , a stretch of 186 km in length. That can be reduced easily to 02:55 hrs as there are no intermediate halts.The train regularly gets delayed  in Malda-Barsoi section,mainly because of 13149 Kanchankanya Express running ahead of it. So the mail can be allowed to overtake it midway for a smoother run all the way till NJP. For this large allotted time , 12343 took many unscheduled halt specially at NFK quite frequently.

 Taking of 12344 , the train is made to trail 12346 Saraighat Express right from NJP. The train, in normal circumstances, reaches Malda outskirts by 23:00, while the scheduled time is 23:45. 12346 Saraighat Express is given too much of slack time in that region ( required for a 1000km journey from Guwahati), for which the Mail suffers. For that, 12344 suffers a lot. Instead, if the timings at Malda Town is revised , in a way such that ,The Mail can cover Kishanganj- Malda roughly in 2 hours, and a scheduled overtake takes place, where 12344 is allowed ahead of 12346, as 12346 has two extra halts before Bolpur Santiniketan( BHP), i.e NFK and RPH.The slack time of Saraighat  Express can be adjusted in Malda – Burdwan section instead of Kishanganj – Malda, ensuring operational feasibility. Thus, speedup is possible in the existing route as well.

 Now the only thing to make it a good substitute of Shatabdi Express, is speeding it up. The train covers a distance of 573 km in 9h55m and 10h0m in the UP and DOWN directions, respectively; average speed being only 57km/h. While the Shatabdi Express takes 8h5m to cover the 566km distance from Howrah, its average speed is 70km/h.The Darjeeling Mail has very less number of halts, even less than the Shatabdi Express. Too much of 'slack' time in the schedule increases its travel time unnecessarily by over an hour. The only train to do Bolpur Shantiniketan – Malda Town stretch (185 km) non stop, but time allotted is 3h44m in Up direction and 3h17m in Down direction - average speed being 49km/h and 56km/h only. Shatabdi takes only 3h alongwith one intermediate halt, maintaining an average speed of about 64km/h. The travel time of the Mail can be reduced, as it reaches Malda Town 30 – 40 minutes before scheduled times on occasions and 15 – 20 minutes early on a regular basis in the UP direction .Though route mps is not more than 100 in between Malda Town and Bolpur Santiniketan , there is no difference in between Satabdi Express and Darjeeling Mail in this stretch.

Proposed schedule of 12343 (SDAH – NJP)Reduction of travel
time of 12343
SDAH Dep – 22:10
 BWN  :-Arr – 23:32  Dep – 23:35 (SDAH–BWN: reduced by 9 minutes)
  BHP:- Arr – 00:23 Dep – 00:25(BWN–BHP: almost same)
 MLDT:- Arr – 03:30 Dep – 03:40( BHP–MLDT: reduced by 40 minutes)
 KNE:- Arr – 05:35 Dep – 05:38(MLDT–KNE: time remains almost same)
 NJP Arr – 07:00( KNE–NJP: reduced by 14 mins, incl. slack)

Proposed schedule of 12344 (NJP - SDAH) and  Reduction of travel time of 12344
NJP – 20:00
 KNE:- Arr – 21:03 Dep – 21:05( NJP–KNE: reduced by 2 minutes)
 MLDT:- Arr – 23:20 Dep – 23:30( KNE–MLDT:  reduced by 21 minutes)
 BHP:- Arr – 02:20 Dep – 02:23(MLDT-BHP: reduced by 36 minutes)
 BWN:- Arr– 03:12 Dep – 03:15( BHP–BWN: reduced by 4 minutes,incl. slack)
 SDAH Arr: 04:55( BWN–SDAH: reduced by 9 minutes,incl. slack)

Suggestion:-  Let 12343 depart at 22:10 from Sealdah, reaching Barddhaman at 23:32. This will help 12321 Imperial Mail (Howrah – Mumbai, via Chheoki) gets a sufficient lead ahead of 12343. Let it overtake 13149 Kanchan Kanya Express, preferably at Azamnagar Road, NFR.

 And for 12344, if it is sped up, can overtake 13072 Jamalpur – Howrah Express at Bolpur Shantiniketan, or somewhere else, so that it can depart Barddhaman Junction by 03:20 and reach Sealdah by 05:00 ; overtaking 13148 Uttar Banga Express on the way, somewhere before Dankuni, allowed ahead of 12360 Patna – Kolkata Garib Rath Express all the way till Dum Dum Junction.

                     Moreover, Public convenience is a matter.Many people avail to from Burdwan and Bolpur, from the nearby towns of Durgapur, Asansol, Suri etc etc.So they will lose a great connectivity.

 Proposed diversion of the Mail via Ranaghat-Krishnanagar-Murshidabad-Azimganj will increase halts of the train, besides travelling in a 80-100 kmph capable section(283 km route from Sealdah-NFK) and also a jampacked suburban EMU section,  the current route  Via Grand Chord( 110 kmph, 95km route from Dankuni-Khana) and SBG LOOP ( almost 95-100 kmph, 176 km route from Khana-Bonidanga) is more good in case of priority and speed.

      Instead of diverting the prestigious Darjeeling Mail, Eastern Railways must introduce a new daily overnight train to Haldibari, via the proposed route ( Via NH-RHA-KNJ-BPC-MBB-AZ-NFK). Quite possible to do so , Sealdah division presently has a lot of spare ICF coaches in hand. This will not only be a good experiment, but will help to solve the problem  of the New Jalpaiguri – Haldibari Slip portion of the Darjeeling Mail, which causes a lot of operational complexity. That would enable the cancellation of the Slip portion, and the Mail can become a dedicated SDAH-NJP train, free from any slip portion operation.It can be upgraded to LHB rake , under certain consideration.

[ Another solution:- instead of diverting Darjeeling Mail, Eastern Railways must regularize some of New Jalpaiguri bound  Sealdah/Kolkata originated special train via this route and specially Sealdah-Kamakhya AC special , 02261  and we think this will be great).

In reference to the above, I would solicit the concern of the Railway Board to take a action regarding this.In reference to the above facts, we would like to draw the attention of the Railway Board, so that it is speed up in the existing route instead of route diversion. And also providing it a LHB rake will improve travel comfort and safety, besides enhancing route diversion.

                                                                        Thank you very much