New Delhi: Indian Railways on Friday unveiled the National Rail plan in an effort to address the inadequacies of capacity constraints and improve its modal share in total freight ecosystem of the country. In its statement, the Ministry of Railways said, “A long-term strategic plan called the National Rail Plan has been developed to plan infrastructural capacity enhancement along with strategies to increase the modal share of the Railways.”
The draft plan included several new High-Speed Rail Corridors. As per the draft, several bullet train corridors have been identified, and a survey on Delhi-Varanasi High-Speed Rail already underway. The draft plan stated, “HSR Corridors as proposed as part of National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) have been reviewed with an objective of enhancing the outreach of HSR network and increasing the connectivity to cities of importance.”
“Given the long lead time and inherent risk in high-speed rail investments, it is essential that suitable corridors are selected where the conditions exist to support strong passenger demand for high-speed services. In other words, it is critical to identify the corridors across the country with the maximum potential to support high-speed rail in order to minimize this investment risk,” it added.
Bullet train corridors:
A ranking system based on an index of five criteria has been developed to judge the extent of demand for high-speed rail between any two city pairs. Each city pair consists of two cities, each with a population of at least 10,00,000 that are
separated by a distance of 300 to 700 Km.
The criteria include -1. City Population (> 1 million), 2. Distance between city pairs, confined to distances between 300-700 Km, 3. City GDP, 4. High levels of congestion, 5. Passenger flow between city pairs- AC rail and air trips and 6. Corridors having AC passenger share of more than 50% were identified.
Recommended High-Speed Rail (HSR) Corridors as per National Rail Plan (NRP):
The corridors are more or less same as proposed as part of NIP. In addition, certain extensions/ new corridors have been proposed for enhancing HSR outreach and providing connectivity to other towns:
1. Delhi- Chandigarh- Ludhiana – Jalandhar- Amritsar HSR Corridor is recommended to be extended to Jammu via Pathankot for enhancing regional connectivity and for giving an economic boost to the Jammu and Pathankot Region. It will cater to the religious tourism potential of the Vaishno Devi Shrine and other places.
2. Delhi- Agra- Kanpur- Lucknow- Varanasi- HSR corridor is recommended to route via Ajodhya due to Religious Tourism Potential.
3. Delhi- Agra- Kanpur-Lucknow- Varanasi HSR corridor is also recommended to be extended to connect Patna and Kolkata.
4. Additional HSR Line from Patna to Guwahati via Katihar and New Jalpaiguri thereby connecting Guwahati with Delhi
Varanasi Kolkata HSR Corridor.
5. Additional HSR Line between Hyderabad and Bengaluru by extending Mumbai Hyderabad HSR Line. This shall connect Mumbai with Chennai and also will bring North India from Jammu – Amritsar – Delhi – Jaipur – Ahmedabad – Mumbai – Hyderabad – Bengaluru – Chennai on HSR corridor and all the major towns of North, West and South India shall be connected with 1 HSR Corridor. This will help in boosting the regional economy.
6. Additional HSR line is proposed between Nagpur and Varanasi by extending the Mumbai – Nashik – Nagpur HSR Corridor. This shall connect Mumbai with Varanasi which will further connect with Delhi – Varanasi – Patna – Guwahati HSR corridor.
Worth adding here is that according to senior officials, the Gujarat government in collaboration with the national transporter will lay a new Ahmedabad-Rajkot Railway Link dedicated for high-speed trains and the route will be linked to the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project. The Centre and the Gujarat government have reportedly given in-principle approval to the project,
M K Das, Additional Chief Secretary in Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) made the announcement during a presentation on Gujarat at a virtual conference held on Friday under the ASSOCHAM Foundation Week programme. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was also present. “The Gujarat government, in partnership with the railways, will start a new work- Ahmedabad Rajkot Railway Link-, which would not be a bullet train, but a very high-speed train. The train will reach Rajkot very fast,” Das said.
This project has got in-principle approval of the Gujarat government and 10 days back, the Centre gave the same. The project was finalised during a virtual meeting in which Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was present,” he added. “We will have a new railway line between Ahmedabad and Rajkot. And this high-speed railway line will be linked to the bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai,” Das said.
Note that while there are double track railway lines between Ahmedabad and Rajkot at present, this new high-speed line will help reduce the travel time between the two cities. As the new railway link will be connected to the bullet train project, those who want to go to Mumbai from Saurashtra will also find it convenient to travel in short time. The cost of the project and the share of state and central governments for it has not yet been revealed.
Courtesy – timesnownews