Soon, Pune and Ahmedabad may be less than half an hour away from Mumbai. The railways on Wednesday said they are developing a high-speed passenger corridor that will enable trains to run at a speed of 300 kmph and will be inviting global consultants for the project by September 2008.
“The Railways have decided to develop five high-speed passenger train corridors to enable passengers to cover these busy routes in the shortest possible time on a public private partnership basis. The idea of high-speed corridors for passenger trains has come from the states and we will be doing the project in partnership with states. Interested state governments and the railways could pool equal funds,” K.C. Jena, chairman, Railway Board said.
Jena was in Mumbai to attend the national railway awards function on the
occasion of the Indian Railways completing 159 years.
“This will be a dedicated corridor for passenger trains. A similar one has been proposed for freight also. Once we have a dedicated corridor, there won’t be problems in touching speeds of 300 kmph,” Jena said. Currently, the maximum average speed on Indian Railways is 150 kmph achieved by New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express.
Sources in the railways said that among the five corridors proposed, one of them would connect prime cities like Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. Sources added the state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Delhi had expressed their interest in the high-speed trains and had agreed ‘in principle’ to participate in any pre-feasibility studies.
Sources also said that one high-speed passenger corridor each will be in the northern, western, southern and eastern region. One corridor will run between Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, the second between Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune, the third corridor on Hyderabad-Vijyawada-Chennai route, the fourth on Haldia-Howrah route and Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulum route.
The railway ministry has already initiated the process for inviting global tenders for engaging a consultant for conducting pre-feasibility studies which will be completed by September.