NEW DELHI: Semi-high speed train between Chennai and Bengaluru can reduce the travel time between two cities to less than 3 hours and would need an investment of Rs 3200 crore to convert the existing tracks to run trains at 160 kmph, according to a feasibility study report submitted by Chinese company.
The draft of final feasibility study of speed enhancement on the 500 km Chennai- Bengaluru and Mysore section has been submitted by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC) to Railway Board last week.
The report pegs the cost at Rs 4350 crore for upgrading the entire section between Chennai and Mysore and it will cut down the time from existing 7 hours to 4 hour and 45 minutes, about 2hour and 15 minutes less. The cost for Chennai- Bengaluru section has been pegged at Rs 3200 crore and time taken by train running at 160 kmph will be 2 hour 50 minutes.
Presently, the fastest train on the section Shatabdi Express between Chennai and Mysuru via Bengaluru runs at 90 kmph and takes 7 hour to cover the journey. It takes 4 hour and 50 minutes to cover distance between Chennai and Bangalore.
According to railways, Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai is the toughest section due to difficult terrain and hills especially the Mysore-Bengaluru route.
The study has suggested several engineering changes to increase the speed from 80 kmph to 160 kmph. It ranges from changes in signaling, track, level crossing, rebuilding bridges and fencing the section among others.
According to a senior railway official, major changes are needed between Bengaluru-Mysuru.
“The whole corridor can be taken in two phases and first we can take Chennai-Bengaluru section and Bengaluru-Mysuru section can be taken in second phase,” said the officer.
Railway has suggested several changes in the report and has asked Chinese company to incorporate the same before submitting the final report.
“We are expecting the final report by end of this year and based on that it will be put before the Railway Board for any further decision,” the official added.
The Railways has set up a Mobility Directorate to work on strategies to increase speed of trains. Gatimaan Express – India's first semi-high speed that clocks 160 kmph, was launched on the Delhi-Agra route in April.
Other semi-high speed corridor for increasing speed to 160 kmph include Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahemdabad, Chennai- Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad. The feasibility study on Delhi-Chandigarh is being done by French railways SNCF and is expected to be submitted by February 2017.