Joint study on high-speed railway line

India and Japan have decided to co-finance a joint feasibility study on a high-speed railway line on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

A joint statement at the end of the summit level meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here on Wednesday said that Dr. Singh noted Japan’s interest in supporting the introduction of high-speed trains in India and appreciated its high level of expertise in designing and implementing high-speed railway (Shinkansen) systems.

He also conveyed that India would plan such projects based on its infrastructure priorities, commercial viability and financial resources.

Shinkansen or ‘Bullet Train’ is a network of high-speed railway lines operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tôkaidô Shinkansen (515.4 km) in 1964, the network has expanded to 2,387.7 km of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km per hour.

The statement said the Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totalling 71-billion yen ($0.7 billion) for the Mumbai Metro Line-III project.

Dr. Singh appreciated Mr. Abe’s pledge for the Campus Development Project of Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (Phase-2) for 17.7 billion yen.

Travelling on high-speed trains may be a reality now

India’s dream of travelling on high-speed trains may finally get fulfilled in this rail budget. While the promise of a Bullet train has remained just a promise so far, sources say Railway Minister Pawan Bansal’s rail budget speech on February 26 may hold the announcement for introduction of modern electrical multiple units (EMU), which provide safer, faster, cleaner and comfortable passenger-friendly alternative.

Even though the initial announcement for introducing Bullet trains in India was made during the tenure of RJD leader Lalu Prasad, paucity of funds and high costs involved saw proposals not progressing much further. Officials say Bansal may make announcement for increasing speed of existing Rajdhani and Shadabdi trains with the help of EMUs on existing tracks like Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Kolkota, Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Ahmadabad.

EMU trains are not the same as Bullet trains that run on dedicated high-speed corridors at speeds 350kmph and above. EMUs are designed for operations at the maximum speed of 130kmph/150kmph, exceeding up to 200kmph but without any additional expenditure on existing tract or signalling infrastructure. Officials explain that they have no link with separate high-speed corridors being planned for Bullet train operations for which another announcement is possible in the rail budget.

Highly energy efficient and aerodynamically designed light weight, the EMUs ply on existing tracks on Rajdhani and Shatabdi routes which are fit for running trains up to a speed of 150 kmph. Even though the premium trains are expected to run at a maximum speed of 100 kmph to 120 kmph, their average speed is usually less than 90 kmph due to a large number of speed restrictions and poor acceleration and deceleration characteristics of existing trains.

The officials explain that the EMU train sets will be free from these bottlenecks and provide faster and safer movement while substantially reducing run time. Since EMU Train sets have very high acceleration and deceleration, it takes them much lesser time in negotiating speed restrictions and achieving maximum permissible speed. For example, it is possible to reduce the run time between Howrah and New Delhi by 2.5 to 3.0 hours by operating train sets at existing speed of 130 kmph without any additional expenditure on track and other infrastructure.

A train set can do extra trip/day for inter-city travel, are eco-friendly, noiseless, consume 30% less energy, and do not pollute the environment as in case of conventional loco-hauled trains with diesel power cars. Since there are cabs at both ends, turn-around time required at a station is less than 15 minutes, thus leading to improved utilisation.

Safer, faster

EMU trains are not the same as Bullet trains that run on dedicated high-speed corridors at speeds 350kmph and above.
The EMUs are designed for operations at the maximum speed of 130kmph/150kmph, exceeding up to 200kmph but without any additional expenditure on existing tract or signalling infrastructure.
Officials explain that they have no link with separate high-speed corridors being planned for Bullet train operations for which another announcement is possible in the rail budget.

High-speed trains between Delhi and Meerut soon

To accommodate the rush of passengers commuting between Delhi and Meerut, an ultra-modern high-speed train service connecting the two cities is going to start soon, official sources said here on Tuesday.

The high-speed trains will run at 100 km per hour between Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi and Begum Pul via Pallavpuram in Meerut, they said.

“The proposed route will enable the commuters to cover the distance between Delhi and Meerut in one hour,” said N. K. Chaudhary, Vice-Chairman, Ghaziabad Development Authority.

Teams from the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS), Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) and National Capital Region (NCR) gave the green signal for the underground route from Anand Vihar to Meerut at a meeting here on Monday, after the proposed route was surveyed.

Under the project, new railway stations will be built at Begum Pul and Pallavpuram.

Apart from an underground corridor, there will also be elevated tracks at some stretches.

For the huge workforce commuting between Delhi and Meerut, the new train service will come as a relief, connecting areas like Vaishali, Dabar Chowk, Mohan Nagar and Modinagar.


Fast track rail corridors in the offing for NCR

Making feasible for the residents of neighbouring cities to travel national capital, would turn into reality as the government’s proceedings are in its final phase to connect these cities with rail corridors for the National Capital Region.

Termed as Regional Rapid Transit System, the three busiest routes being finalised to have dedicated corridors are Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut, Delhi-Gurgaon-Rewari-Alwar and Delhi-Sonepat-Panipat at an estimated cost of Rs 5000 crore (Rs 50 billion)  excluding the rolling stock.

A senior Urban Development Ministry official asserted that the authority will conduct a pragmatic thorough study of these corridors on a priority basis. The Urban Development Ministry is within talks with the Railway Ministry and state governments of Delhi, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan  to form the NCR Transport Corporation for implementation of the dedicated corridor project.

 The Centre and the State will share equity of 50:50 in the project. In this regard, a MoU will be signed between the Centre and states to make viable through company for the project. the three corridors are being finalized on the basis of demand and requirement.

Rlys to carry out survey for Bullet Trains

PATNA: A high level team of the Railway Board officials held a meeting with Bihar chief secretary R J M Pillai recently in connection with the survey work of the proposed running of bullet train between Patna and Delhi. The railways intend to carry out survey work soon so that its feasibility could be assessed.

According to sources, the total cost of the survey work on Patna-Delhi route is likely to cost about Rs 11 crore. This route falls under Bihar, UP and Delhi. Accordingly, the cost of survey is to be shared with the railways by these states. Of about 1,000 km stretching from Patna to Delhi, about 200 km falls in Bihar. The Bihar government is to share half of the cost to be incurred on the survey work of about 200 km, sources said.

A board official described the talk with the chief secretary as positive and said the state government has expressed its willingness to co-operate with the railways on the project. This ambitious project would surely herald development in the state and benefit the people, he said.

According to sources, the railways are conducting survey on the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Chandigarh, Patna-Delhi, Bangalore-Chennai and Chennai-Hyderabad routes. The survey work and feasibility report are being prepared by a reputed company of France. If everything goes well, the railways would complete the survey work in a couple of months, the board official said.

Bullet trains are specially designed to run at the maximum speed of 250 km to 300 kmph per hour in foreign countries. In fact, separate tracks are required to run bullet trains which are substitute to air traffic in foreign countries. Besides, no goods trains would run on the special tracks of bullet trains for safety reasons, a technical expert said, adding the railways have been running the fastest Shatabdi Express on Delhi-Gwalior route at 140 kmph.

The railways will require at least Rs 10,000 crore to build up the infrastructure to run bullet trains. Though maintenance of bullet trains, particularly locomotives, is very costly, the Indian Railways are capable of maintaining bullet train coaches with the help of advanced technology, sources said.

A technical expert of the railways told TOI that the Indian Railways have the largest network in the country and introduction of bullet trains would fill railway coffers as elite class passengers would prefer journey by such high speed trains paying fare at premium cost, he said.

‘High-speed trains are need of hour’

MUMBAI: After optimising the potential of fright and passenger trains, Indian Railways is now focusing on running high-speed trains on short routes to compete with the growing aviation sector.
But railway planners feel the capital-intensive high-speed train project can be feasible only if commercial hubs are developed near stations in urban areas.

S K Vij, member (engineering) in the Railway Board, Delhi, said high-speed trains were the need of the hour for inter-city travel. “Our survey on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route shows there is enough traffic for high-speed travel. But the catch is the ticket price,” he said. The railway official was speaking to TOI after inaugurating a seminar by the Institution of Permanent Way Engineers here on Thursday.

Vij said a normal long-distance train journey costs just 30 paise per km. But a high-speed train journey would cost anywhere between Rs 3 and Rs 5 per km, making the ticket costly, he said. “The idea is to have enough passengers travelling on a reasonably priced ticket,” he said. A techno-economic feasibility study has already been commissioned by the railways for a high-speed corridor between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Amritsar.