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Will India ever get such trains?

Last updated on: July 27, 2011 12:35 IST

Will India ever get such trains?

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India has one of the largest rail networks in the world, yet it does not have any high-speed rail lines capable of supporting speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph) or more.

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Image: Japan Railway's N700 bullet train approaches a platform at Tokyo Station.
Photographs: Toru Hanai/Reuters
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The Ministry of Railways' white-paper Vision 2020 submitted to the parliament by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 18 2009 envisages the implementation of regional high-speed rail projects to provide services at 250-350 km/h, and planning for corridors connecting commercial, tourist and pilgrimage hubs.

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Image: A high speed 'Javelin' train waits at a platform at Stratford International Station, east London.
Photographs: Stephen Hird/Reuters
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Six corridors have already been identified for technical studies on setting up of high-speed rail corridors: Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijayawada-Chennai, Howrah-Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Kochi, Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna.

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Image: A Taiwan High Speed 700T train prepares to leave Taipei.
Photographs: Nicky Loh/Reuters
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These high-speed rail corridors will be built as elevated corridors in keeping with the pattern of habitation and the constraint of land.

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Image: A policeman stands guard near the bullet trains serving the high-speed railway linking Shanghai and Hangzhou in Shanghai.
Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters
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During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo in December 2006, Japan assured co-operation with India in creating a high speed link between New Delhi and Mumbai.

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Image: The 500-type Nozomi, developed by the West Japan Railway Co.
Photographs: Reuters
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In January 2009, the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav expressed keen interest in introducing bullet-trains in India.

"The day is not far off when the bullet train will run in the country," Lalu had said after getting a first-hand feel of the superfast trains travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto at a speed of about 300 km/h.

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Image: A driver is seen inside a CRH (China Railway High-speed) Harmony bullet train at Beijing South Railway Station.
Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters
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On a visit to India in December 2009, the then Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama offered bullet-train technology to India.

"Since its inception (in Japan), there has been no accidents. We will like to see this technology being used in India", said Hatoyama.

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Image: Japan's bullet train, or the shinkansen, speeds past Mount Fuji.
Photographs: J R Tokai/Reuters
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The feasibility study of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune corridor is complete. On March 21, 2011, the British firm Mott MacDonald was asked to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the 993km long Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna route and report back in 7 months.

It will cost the Railways Rs 8.8 crore (Rs 88 million) for the report.

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Image: A Chinese resident rides a tricycle past the head of a CRH Harmony bullet train.
Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters
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In a feasibility study published in 1987, RDSO and JICA estimated the construction cost to be Rs 49 million per km, for a line dedicated to 250-300 km/h trains.

In 2010, that 1987-estimated cost, inflated at 10 per cent a year = Rs 439 million per km.

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Image: The Hayabusa shinkansen or bullet train departs from Aomori station.
Photographs: Reuters
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In India, trains in the future with speed of 250-350 km/h, are envisaged to run on elevated corridors, to prevent trespassing by animals and people.

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Image: A bullet train pulls in at a railway station in Shanghai.
Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters
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A public-private-partnership mode of investment and execution is envisaged for such expensive 250-350 km/h high-speed rail project.

The cost of building high speed rail tracks is about Rs 70 crore (Rs 700 million) per km, compared to Rs 6 crore (Rs 60 million) per km for normal rail tracks.


Image: A man looks at the bullet trains serving the high-speed railway linking Shanghai and Hangzhou in Sha
Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters
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