Delhi to Jaipur in just 90 minutes by semi-high speed train? The project, if it gets the final nod from Railway Board, will be a dream come true for many railway passengers. Even as India looks forward to its first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry is already considering the possibility of setting up semi-high speed corridors across crucial routes in the country. This comes at a time when Indian Railways is facing stiff competition from both roadways and aviation sectors. FinancialExpress.com has learnt that the Ministry of Railways has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Italy’s FS-Italferr. This engineering company has been tasked with carrying out a feasibility study for a semi-high speed rail corridor that would allow for trains to run at speeds up to 200 kmph and hence reduce the travel time between the two cities to under 90 minutes. At present it takes a minimum of 4 hours and 30 minutes by train.
The Ministry of Railways has already written to its two divisions, Northern Railways and North Western Railways on the same. The ministry has asked the two divisions to provide necessary support to Italy’s FS-Italferr for the feasibility study. Informed sources told FE Online that an Additional Divisional Railway Manager from North West Railways will be made a project member of the working group. The person will be responsible for interaction and coordination of the feasibility study. Yet another person will be nominated to give the Railway Board a daily progress report on the project, reflecting the urgency and importance being assigned by the Railway Ministry to the project.
According to Tarun Jain, the CPRO of NWR the feasibility study would be completed on fast-track basis. “While the exact details of the MoU are with the Railway Board, but I believe given the level of day-to-day coordination that is expected, the feasibility study should be completed very fast. Only after that will we get to know the financial details of the kind of investment it will entail and the fares that are recommended apart from expected traffic etc,” Tarun Jain told FE Online.
The railway tracks between Delhi and Jaipur allow for a maximum speed of up to 110 km/hr. The average speed of trains is at 75 km/hr implying that the 309 km distance is covered in around 5 hours keeping in mind the stations on the route. Interestingly, Nitin Gadkari-led Road Transport and Highways Ministry is already working on constructing an access controlled highway between Delhi and Jaipur that is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities to two hours. Indian Railways ambitious semi-high speed rail corridor would compete directly with this for traffic apart from airlines which take around an hour between Delhi and Jaipur.
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Meanwhile, the Railway Ministry is also mulling the possibility of constructing a bullet train corridor between Delhi-Amritsar and Mumbai-Pune. A senior railway official, on the condition of anonymity, told FE Online that the Railway Board believes bullet trains will be more feasible for shorter routes. The idea under works is to extend the total high-speed rail network in the country to over 4,600 km – making India the country which has the third highest kilometre lines of high-speed rail after China and Spain.