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Overhead or underground?

india Updated: Feb 16, 2009 02:07 IST
Rajendra Aklekar
Rajendra Aklekar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Should the country’s first high-speed bullet train have an elevated corridor or an underground one? A French firm will decide on that one.

Transport company Systra on Saturday bagged the Rs 15-crore contract to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the type of corridor for the bullet train. The report will be turned in by August 2009.

Systra has edged out four other companies — one each from the UK, Spain, Germany and China — that were in the fray to conduct the study.

The Railway ministry had invited bids to examine the high-speed Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. It has worked out a proposed corridor that would pass through Pune, Lonavla, Khandala, Kalyan, Vasai, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Gandhinagar.

The super-fast bullet train, which will run at a speed of 350 kmph, will slash travel time on the 192-km Mumbai-Pune stretch from 3 hours to 25 minutes; the seven-and-a-half-hour journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad (492 km) will shrink to less than two hours.

While initially, the Railways had planned the feasibility of the bullet train route between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the state government was keen to stretch it to Pune. The pre-feasibility study will examine the technicalities of running the train on the Western ghats, and will suggest possible route points and fare structures.

Systra has also been associated with a feasibility study to run air-conditioned trains between Churchgate and Virar. The firm is also associated with the Metro train projects in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.