Indian Railways, keen on reducing the travel time between Delhi and Chandigarh, would soon launch a semi-high speed project on the 245km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, which is one of the busiest routes.
France's state-owned railway company, SNCF, has submitted its report for upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh railway route.
Trains would run at a maximum speed of 200kmph, cutting travel time to only 2 hours.
Delhi-Chandigarh semi-high speed project to cost over Rs. 11,000cr
The Delhi-Chandigarh project would be Indian Railways' first venture in collaboration with the French railway company.
Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena stated, "SNCF, France's state-owned rail company, started the study in January 2016 and submitted the final report."
He added SNCF's study was under the Railway Board's consideration.
According to SNCF's over 1500-page report, upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh railway route would cost over Rs. 11,218cr.
Cost estimated by SNCF
The estimated cost includes the cost of upgrading signals on Delhi-Chandigarh route, major civil works, rolling stock, etc. A senior railway ministry official said that officials from SNCF and Indian Railways would examine and discuss the report after which the final cost would be decided.
Project to be launched in January next year
Currently, the Shatabdi Express covers the 245km distance between Delhi and Chandigarh in three hours and 30 minutes, traveling at a maximum speed of 110kmph.
However, the upgraded semi-high speed trains, with halts in Panipat and Ambala, would take only two hours and two minutes.
The project is likely to be launched in Jan'18 when France's President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit India.
Realignment of major curves
Around 20 major curves extending over 32.7km on the existing Delhi-Chandigarh rail corridor would be re-aligned under the project. However, no new land for the realignment would be acquired; it would be done within the Indian Railways' "right of way".
More rail routes to be upgraded
Apart from the Delhi-Chandigarh route, in collaboration with the French state-run rail company, the Indian Railways plans to upgrade seven more rail corridors in the country, spanning over 4000km.
They include the Mumbai-Goa, Chennai-Hyderabad, Mysuru-Chennai, Delhi-Kanpur, and Nagpur-Secunderabad railway routes.
The upgrading of the rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh is likely to be a demonstrative project by France.