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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Bullet trains to slow down to 110 kmph for India tracks

Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 07, 2012
First Published: 23:09 IST(7/10/2012) | Last Updated: 08:27 IST(8/10/2012)

The train sets (bullet trains), which India had proposed to acquire, will be "intensively modified" so that they can run at a much slower speed on the country's existing Broad Gauge (BG) tracks.

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These customised train sets in turn are likely to raise the acquisition costs by several folds, an official from a visiting Japanese team informed at the first meeting of the India-Japan working sub-group on High Speed Rail on Thursday.

It had earlier been estimated that the six train sets would come at a cost of Rs. 25,000 crore.

Bullet trains - designed to run at a speed of 325 km per hour (kmph) - are run on the standard gauge; but the railways wants to run these at a speed of 110 kmph on BG routes.

The railways will also need to carry out massive upgrades in the track structure and signaling systems - which will also come at a huge cost, officials said.

The railways plan to build a "Golden Rail Corridor" for running these slow-moving bullet trains on four other routes apart from the Delhi-Mumbai sector. Routes identified for this corridor includes the Mumbai-Kolkata and the Chennai-Bangalore sectors, besides the Delhi-Jaipur and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai routes.

"Most advanced countries have switched over its locomotive hauled conventional inter-city trains to Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) train sets for operating speeds ranging from 130-160 kmph," an official said.

But some sections feel that given the astronomical costs involved, the acquisition is unjustified - particularly since the railways can work on an alternative model at a fraction of the costs.

 "The LHB-design coaches (certified for 160 kmph speed) can be upgraded to 180-200 kmph to create a train set with two locos at each end... This train set may not resemble an Inter City Express or a Shinkansen, but will more than serve the purpose," officials said.


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