Adding steam to the Indian Railways’ plans for fast trains, the Ministry of Railways
will approach the Cabinet to clear two semi-high-speed projects — New Delhi-Mumbai
and New Delhi-Howrah — which may see investments of around Rs 180 billion.
“The project has got the nod from the NITI
Aayog. We are planning to approach the Cabinet on this soon. While the investment for the New Delhi-Mumbai
route (including Vadodara-Ahmedabad) will be around Rs 110 billion, the New Delhi-Howrah route (including Kanpur-Lucknow) may be about Rs 70 billion,” said an official close to the development.
Semi-high-speed trains include those traveling at 160-200 km per hour (kmph) and high-speed ones are those that travel at around 300 kmph. At present, the only semi-high speed train in India
is the Gatimaan Express, which runs between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Agra Cantonment, and is the fastest train in the country.
The plan on semi-high-speed projects comes when India
laid the foundation stone last year for its first high-speed train between Mumbai
and Ahmedabad with financial and technical assistance from the Japanese government.
“Both the routes that we are going to take up among the semi-high-speed projects are the busiest in India.
We want to increase the average speed of passenger trains and freight trains by at least 5 kmph per year,” he said. While the New Delhi-Mumbai
train will cover 1,483 route km, the New Delhi-Howrah train will traverse 1,525 route km.
is also working on eight other semi-high-speed routes at present. These include the 244-km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, for which French major SNCF has submitted a feasibility report.
“Similarly, Russian Railways
is working on a feasibility-cum-implementation study of 575-km Nagpur-Secunderabad corridor and similarly the Chennai-Kazipet and Mysuru-Bengaluru-Chennai routes are also being planned with German collaboration,” he added.
On the other hand, an action plan, in the works for improving mobility and increasing average speed, includes removing speed restrictions, constructing road overbridges (ROBs) and road under bridges (RUBs), right powering of trains, introducing twin-pipe in wagons, replacing conventional trains by Main Line Electric Multiple Unit
(MEMU) trains and Diesel Electric Multiple Unit
(DEMU) trains, etc.