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Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

Last updated on: July 08, 2014 10:11 IST

Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

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Anusha Soni

The first rail budget of the new government is likely to have announcements related to high-speed trains, including potential sources of funding for the much-speculated 'bullet train, project.  

The budget is likely to have clear schedules and steps for increasing the speed of passenger trains, one of the promises made by both railways minister Sadananda Gowda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Image: A high-speed bullet train in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Photographs: Reuters

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Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

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There is also a proposal to integrate the already identified six prospective high speed corridors with the ambitious 'diamond quadrilateral' project which aims to connect the four leading metropolitan cities through high speed trains, say officials. The railways have identified six corridors for pre-feasibility tests.  

The budget is also expected to focus on new avenues of funding such as foreign sovereign funds and agencies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank.

Mumbai-Ahmedabad is likely to be the first high speed rail corridor, currently the subject of feasibility studies by JICA. 

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Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

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The railways recently successfully completed an experiment on the Delhi-Agra route for semi-high speed (up to 160 km/hr).

Budgetary allocation for semi-high speed trials on Delhi-Kanpur and Delhi-Chandigarh would be required, as these routes require greater technical preparations compared to Delhi-Agra.  

According to senior officials working on the project, once the land acquisition is completed, the construction will take five to seven years. It might take up to 10 years for the first high speed corridor to be operational. 

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Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

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The railways could also make its public-private partnership rules more investor-friendly. And, announce projects that could use foreign funds, anticipating the cabinet nod for foreign direct investment.

Station modernisation will be one of the key projects; private entities have shown interest.  

More reliance on modern technology for auditing and bidding will be an area of focus.

Passenger ticketing with automatic check-ins at stations is a possible announcement.

Innovations in freight procurement of high capacity wagons and increasing of efficiency are the other major anticipated announcements.

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Photographs: Abhinav Phangcho Choudhury/WikimediaCommons

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Expect high speed trains, FDI projects in the Rail Budget

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High speed routes identified

Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna (991 km)

Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar (450 km)

Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km)

Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijayawada-Chennai (644 km)

Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam (649 km)

Howrah-Haldia (135 km)

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Photographs: Shirish Shete/PTI

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