The 245-km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor is slated to see India’s fastest train service running on its tracks, covering the distance between the two cities in less than two hours.
After successfully launching a 160-kmph train service between Delhi and Agra, the Railways now aims to scale up travel speed on the busy Delhi-Chandigarh corridor to 200 kmph. Once the country’s first semi-high speed train service has been launched in collaboration with the French, passengers will be able to travel the distance in 1.50 hours – making a single stop at Ambala.
At present, the Shatabdi Express covers the distance in 3.30 hours, running at a speed of 110 kmph.
Indian Railways officials discussed the possibility of running the semi-high speed trains in the Delhi-Chandigarh sector at a recent meeting with a high-level French delegation. The SNCF, a railway agency from the European country, will soon submit the execution strategy and implementation model with a detailed break-up of the funds required. The final report will be presented by October, said a senior Railway ministry official.
- 110 kmph: The present speed of the Shatabdi Express on the 245 km track
- 200 kmph: Proposed speed at which there will be only one stop at Ambala; travel time less than 2 hours
- French team to submit proposal by October
- Rs 10,000 crore expected project cost at Rs 46 crore per km.
Sources say the project will cost roughly over Rs 10,000 crore, at Rs 46 crore per kilometre. This includes the rolling stock as well as signal and track upgrades on the corridor.
In the years to come, the Railways will reportedly upgrade nine high-priority passenger corridors – totaling up to 6,400 km – to run semi-high speed trains.
However, even as the Centre draws up plans to overhaul the track infrastructure, the local railway division is looking at other ways to reduce travel time on the Delhi-Chandigarh corridor in the interim period. “We have sent a proposal to the commission of railway safety, asking it to reduce the travel time of Shatabdis running between Chandigarh and Delhi. As per our proposal, the train will run at 130 kmph between Ambala and Delhi, reducing travel time by 20-25 minutes to just three hours,” said Ambala divisional railways manager Dinesh Kumar, adding that they are still awaiting a response.
The proposed semi high-speed train service had found mention in the 2014 Railway budget, divisional railway officials said.