In four years, one can travel to Meerut, Panipat and Alwar in half the time it takes now from Delhi. This will be possible through high-speed bullet trains running on dedicated tracks at a maximum speed of 160 km an hour, which is higher than the speed of the Rajdhani Express currently.
One can then reach Meerut in 63 minutes, Alwar in 117 minutes and Panipat in 61 minutes. At a later stage, 16 towns in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be linked to Delhi through this air-conditioned rail network.
The union urban development ministry on Wednesday signed an agreement with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana to create the Regional Rail Transit System (RRTS).
"We are setting up a joint venture company called National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) to implement the high-speed rail project. An agreement with the three states was signed today (Wednesday). It will be similar to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Each corridor could be implemented through its subsidiary," said Navin Kumar, urban development secretary.
Broad-gauge tracks will be laid in Delhi and its three neighbouring states for this.
This will be the first phase of the RRTS and is expected to become operational by 2015. The feasibility report for the three corridors will be ready by the end of August.
In the second phase there will be five more corridors.
"While a majority of the track in Delhi will be underground, in the other states it will be a mix of elevated, on ground and underground. Initially each of the trains will have six coaches, to be later be upgraded to nine," Kumar said.
The trains will have an automatic fare collection system.
The Centre and three state governments will fund the project. "Both the stakeholders (the Centre and the states) would contribute 50% each. We also plan to raise funds through property development along the corridor and loans from multilateral agencies. The possibilities of private participation in the project are also being examined," Kumar said.
In Delhi, multi-modal stations will be provided to integrate the RRTS with Delhi Metro and DTC. There will be feeder services also.
An urban development ministry official said 11.7 lakh passenger modes (private vehicles, buses, trucks, etc.,) cross Delhi borders every day. "The RRTS would go a long way in decongesting the traffic in the NCR," said the official.