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India's first high-speed rail around the corner

travel Updated: Sep 17, 2012 14:10 IST

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India expects to begin work soon on a project to build the country's first high-speed line connecting the cities of Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

According to local media, India's railways ministry has said it expects to begin work on the project by November 2013.

The 650 km-long (403 miles) corridor will carry trains travelling at 300 km/h (186 m/h), cutting the travel for passengers between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from seven hours to two and a half hours. Studies made by a group of consultancy firms suggest that the annual demand for the line would be around 1.1 million passengers.

After the United States, Russia and China, India is the fourth country with the largest rail network, but the country does not have any high-speed rail lines. The fastest train in India, the Bhopal Shatabdi, currently has a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

High-speed trains have been introduced by France, Germany, Japan and China among other countries, and can provide economic benefits in countries such as India where more than 20 million passengers use the train per day as the main means of transport.