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Mamata green signal to high-speed rail project

PATNA: The dream project of the Indian Railways to introduce high-speed passenger trains has gained momentum with the railway ministry agreeing to undertake pre-feasibility study on six different routes across the country. The state governments have also agreed to share the cost with the railways for conducting the study.

According to a Railway Board official, railway minister Mamata Banerjee has finally given a green signal to this ambitious project conceptualized long back.

The railways has identified six corridors for conducting pre-feasibility study for running high-speed passenger trains. They are Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna (991 km), Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar (450 km), Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km), Hyderabad-Darnakal-Vijaywada-Chennai (644 km), Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam (649 km) and Howrah-Haldia (135 km), he said.

The Board official said that the proposed high-speed passenger train corridors have become the need of the hour for the railways to keep pace with air services. The railways is keen to provide an alternative mode of communication to passengers on the pattern of European countries. The high-speed corridors would pose a challenge to air services in future, he said.

The Board official maintained that Patna-New Delhi route is the most viable for converting it into a high-speed corridor. Tracks have been replaced all along the route. The present track condition is conducive to run high-speed trains on Patna-New Delhi route. However, the railways needs to improve signalling system on this particular route, he said.

According to sources, a high-level team of Board officials held a meeting with the state government top brass in connection with the survey work of the proposed run of high-speed passenger train between Patna and Delhi route. The railways intends to carry out its pre-feasibility survey at an estimated cost of Rs 11 crore, sources said, adding the total area falling under Bihar is about 200 km while the rest is under the jurisdiction of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi state governments.

A technical expert of the railways said that Indian Railways has the largest network in the country yielding huge profits. Introduction of high-speed passenger trains on the pattern of foreign countries would augment railway revenue as elite class passengers would prefer to travel by such trains, he said.

According to the technical experts of railways, it is possible to run such trains at the speed of 200 kmph at least on the present track condition. The railways need to protect tracks which are open at most of the places. Besides, the railways must get uninterrupted power supply for running theses trains, they said, adding IIT, Kharagpur, has been working on a project to help the railways run such trains.
Source - Times of India

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