NEW DELHI: Is the Indian Railways rethinking its plan to increase the speed of trains to 200 kmph?
While the Railways is holding a trial run of Train-18, the country’s first engine-less train boasting of a top speed of 180kmph, the Railway Board has asked for a concept paper on the proposed semi-high speed routes to assess the benefits of increasing speed to 200 kmph vis-a-vis the cost involved.
Nine semi-high speed routes were identified by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2013-14 for increasing the speed between 160-200 kmph on select routes. The Railways had already roped in the expertise, locomotives and coaches to increase the speed in these sections to 160 kmph but have roped in foreign railways and companies to conduct a feasibility study for the higher speed of 200 kmph.
France has already submitted a feasibility study for the Delhi-Chandigarh section. Russia is doing a study on the Nagpur-Secunderabad section while Germany has been given charge for the Chennai-Kazipet route. The Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru section is being studied by China and Italy has submitted a proposal for studying the Delhi-Jaipur route.
“Central government enterprise RITES has been asked to prepare a concept paper on proposed semi-high speed sectors. There has been thinking that making huge investments to increase speed will not make any big difference. This paper will be like a cost-benefit analysis,” said a senior board official.