Indian Railways will have 10,000 km of high-speed rail corridors for trains to run at speed of 200-250 km per hour by April 2018, as projected by the ministry of railways, says a report in The Times of India.
According to the report, railway minister Piyush Goyal has asked officials to identify the corridors and work on cutting the cost of construction. The ministry is considering options such as building single pillar, two track corridors on highways or on existing railway land, it added.
''This will significantly reduce the cost on land acquisition which is a major component on expenditure incurred on any project after the new act was enforced,'' the report quoted a senior official as saying.
The project would link financial centres throughout the country and make sure ''train reaches the destination at a time that gives the traveller enough time to attend office'', the report quoted a source as saying. These routes would compete with short-haul air travel.
''At present intercity train between Mumbai and Pune take around three hours. If we can bring down the travel time to an hour or an hour and a half, then passengers are likely to use the high-speed train,'' an official was quoted as saying.
The reason for undertaking this project is to make sure that, ''train reaches the destination at a time that gives the traveller enough time to attend office," reported the daily.
"At present, intercity train between Mumbai and Pune take around three hours. If we can bring down the travel time to an hour or an hour and a half, then passengers are likely to use the high-speed train,'' ToI quoted an official as saying.
The Budget for the 2018-19 has earmarked an amount of Rs1,48,528 crore as capital expenditure for the Railway, targeted for major developments such as the upcoming bullet trains and electric locomotives technology.
Addressing an India Infracon event organised by Asian News International (ANI) later, Goyal said to implement large-scale projects across the country besides huge amounts of money a change in mindset is also crucial.
''The best excuse has been lack of funds. We were used to taking long years to implement projects, using age-old technology. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed the mindset from a shortage of funds to availability of funds for every good idea. In order to ensure safety in railways, we plan to invest about Rs. 73,000 crore in safety-related issues next year,'' the minister said.