The Railways will examine the possibility of straightening up to 10 major curves on the existing Delhi-Chandigarh rail route to increase train speed up to 200 kmh. The 245-km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, one of the busiest routes in northern India, is slated to be first semi-high speed project being taken up by the public transporter to run trains at speeds of 200 kmph with French help.
SNCF, the French railways, has been assigned the task of submitting the execution strategy and implementation model with detailed cost of the semi-high speed project involving upgradation of the Chandigarh route. A review meeting was held between senior railway officials and a French railway team here which examined various issues including signalling upgradation, elimination of curves, and power control system, concerning the Delhi- Chandigarh route.
There are about 10 major curves spanning over total 32 kms on the existing rail route between Delhi and Chandigarh which need to be eliminated for scaling up the speed to 200 kmh, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the project. Elimination of the curves, crucial for increasing train speed, involves land acquisition to lay 32 kms of new lines between Delhi and Chandigarh.
The review meeting also took note of the need for setting up of power sub-stations along the track.The French team is expected to submit the final report with details of cost analysis by October. After successful launch of 160 kmh service on Delhi-Agra corridor, the Railways has identified nine high priority passenger corridors of total 6,400 km length for increasing the speeds of passenger trains to 160-200 kmh.
Besides Delhi-Chandigarh, other routes include Delhi- Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai, Mumbai- Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur- Secunderabad.
The aim is to reduce the travelling time considerably so it has been decided to upgrade the existing track for running trains at 200 kmh and the French railways has been asked to prepare the draft document for it, the official said.
According to a rough estimate, it is likely to cost over Rs 10,000 crore with about Rs 46 crore per kilometre for running trains at 200 kmh, which includes rolling stock and signal and track upgradation on the Chandigarh corridor. Currently, Shatabdi Express covers the 245 km distance in about three hours and 30 minutes travelling at a maximum speed of 110 kmh.
The higher speed will reduce the journey time between the two cities to one hour and 50 minutes with one stop at Ambala.