In a season of bizarrely planned road corridors and endless waits in traffic jams, here’s some hope. The Indian Railways has started giving shape to an ambitious high-speed train project that would cut your journey time from Delhi to Chandigarh or Amritsar by many times.
The journey to Chandigarh from New Delhi will take 50 minutes. That’s less than what it takes to cover the 5.8 km BRT stretch, and around the same travel time on the Metro from Mandi House to Dwarka.
Work on the nuts and bolts of the proposal has been started. The first pre-bid conference to construct the High Speed Passenger Railway corridor on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar route will be held on Thursday, officials said.
They added that the speed or Bullet trains would travel at 300-350 kmph, and the fares could even be cheaper than those of budget airlines. Sample surveys on the proposed corridor have indicated people have shown a “willingness to pay”, the officials said. Possibly, it comes from the frustration of delays at the airport due to air traffic congestion among other reasons.
The railways, which plans to develop the project with private partnership, has identified four other routes to run these high speed trains. The routes are Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Haldia-Howrah, Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijaywada-Chennai and Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam.
For the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar corridor, the proposal due date for bidders has been fixed on May 6. Contractors will be selected through an international competitive bidding process. For the other corridors, the railways will invite global tenders separately.