Railway Minister Lalu Prasad wants to bring Patna closer to the National Capital by turning the 1,000-km distance between the two cities into just a four-hour-long train journey.
In his tenure as Rail Minister, Prasad has rolled out countless trains to connect Patna with the rest of the country. But in Friday’s Interim Rail Budget, he took it to the futuristic mode: Bullet trains.
“We will carry out pre-feasibility study to launch bullet trains between Delhi and Patna. I have seen the operations of the bullet trains in my recent visit to Japan and other european countries,” he said.
At around 300 km per hour, bullet trains are three times faster than Rajdhanis. Railways has got the green signal to start the process of ascertaining if such a train, that needs new infrastructure, including special tracks, is a viable option between the two cities. Recently,. Lalu Prasad visited japan to check out the technology.
At present, there are around 18 regular trains originating from Delhi’s stations and taking lakhs of passengers to Patna every day. With Delhi receiving an ever-increasing number of working professionals and students from Patna and adjoining areas, the number of special trains needed to service the rush during chhat puja and other festivals has been growing every year, making the Delhi-Patna stretch one of the busiest.
“Not everybody may be able to afford the journey though, because feasibility study means ascertaining what is the operating cost of the train in the route and whether there will be a clientele for such a product in the route,” said a senior railway official who did not wish to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “With dedicated installations for the bullet network, it is likely to have its own price dynamics,” he added.