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Monday, August 1, 2011

INDIAN RAILWAYS: High-speed trains on fast track!

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August 1, 2011 / By PARUL CHANDRA, Correspondent, New Delhi / DC.

Chugging ahead with its plans to build high-speed rail corridors along certain important routes, the Indian railways now plans to carry out pre-feasibility studies for these chosen routes. As the railways Vision 2020 document says, this could make train journeys between Delhi and Mumbai or Delhi and Kolkata just overnight journeys.

Also as a part of the ambitious project, which will aim at reducing the travel for passengers by as much as three to four hours, the railways is busy readying a Cabinet note for setting up a national high-speed rail authority, according to sources.
The authority will be tasked with job of overseeing the planning and implementation of this project. The proposal to set up such an authority was mentioned in the last rail budget speech. The then rail minister, Mamata Banerjee, had also said that the proposed high-speed corridors, which would allow trains to run at speeds ranging from 250 to 300 kilometres per hour, would be a “transformational initiative”.
As for funding for this project, the railways will be looking for private investment through the PPP mode.
The six corridors identified by the railways are: Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar (450 km), Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km), Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijaywada-Chennai (664 km), Chennai-Bengaluru-Coimbatore-Ernakulam (649 km), Howrah-Haldia (135 km) and Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna (991 km).

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