The Hush Post: The 250-km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, one of the busiest in north India, will be the first semi-high speed project being taken up by the state-owned transport to run trains at maximum speeds of 200 km per hour. This will happen with collaboration of the French experts. The total travel time between the two cities will reduce to 2 hours with two stoppages at Panipat and Ambala. At present, the Shatabdi Express covers the distance in about three hours and 30 minutes travelling at a maximum speed of 110 km per hour. It will cost around Rs. 11,000 crore, says a study carried out by the French railway experts.
The 1,700-page detailed report submitted by the French railway will be taken up for finalisation in Indian Railways early next week.
Beside Delhi-Chandigarh, there will be an upgradation of seven more routes – a total of about 4,000 km, including Mumbai-Goa, Delhi-Kanpur, Chennai-Hyderabad, Mysore-Chennai, and Nagpur-Secunderabad.
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit India in January 2018 when the project will be launched. The railways will sign a MoU with SNCF next year expanding the scope of cooperation in the railway sector, including training of pilots of semi-high speed trains and safety and security of trains.
The report has pegged the total estimated cost at Rs. 11,000 crore, which includes the cost of signals upgrade, main civil works and rolling stock among others.
Senior officials from both sides will examine the report and a final cost will be decided after the discussion on Monday, said a senior Railway Ministry official.