How about a train that shaves off five hours from travel time between Chennai and Mysore, via Bengaluru, allowing you to make the journey in just 2 hours and 25 minutes? This bullet train could become a reality by 2030 if the Railway Board accepts the proposal recently submitted by the German government.
The feasibility report for the 435 km Chennai-Arakkonam-Bengaluru-Mysore route was submitted to Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani by German Ambassador Martin Ney yesterday. According to report, the route will be 85% elevated and will boast 11 per cent tunnels, and by travelling at a maximum speed of around 320 kmph the proposed train could significantly cut down travel time from the current seven hours.
In fact, travel time between Chennai and Bengaluru will reportedly be reduced by 100 minutes while that between Bengaluru and Mysore will be reduced by 40 minutes. The estimated cost of the project? The infrastructure cost is pegged at around Rs 1 lakh crore along with an additional cost of Rs 150 crore for rolling stock.
"The [feasibility] study was both commissioned and financed by the German government. The route was found to be not only extremely viable, but also prove to be the most effective solution to manage traffic growth," Ney told PTI. The report added that the route will be operational by 2030, after a planning period of three years followed by a construction period of nine years.
In order to bring down costs and minimise land acquisition issues, the German study had suggested that India integrate its existing conventional railway line with the high-speed line - instead of building a dedicated high-speed corridor. However, the Railway Board reportedly rejected the plan stating that India's present network was too over-saturated and complicated for such integration.
"The proposal is an exciting one and we are reviewing it at the moment. The Germans studied both mixed modes and dedicated mode and we decided that a detailed study of dedicated mode was more viable," said Lohani. "We are expecting that we will be able to ground some passengers from airlines when they see that the travel time has been reduced so drastically. Unless one lives near to the airport, trains will be faster than airlines once this kind of high speed rail network is introduced."
While Railway officials are being tight-lipped about the fare structure for this proposed high-speed train, sources told the agency that a journey between Chennai and Mysore will cost about the same as airfares on that route.
Other routes on which feasibility studies for high-speed trains are being conducted include New Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Nagpur and Mumbai-Nagpur. If they are approved then Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have delivered on one of his key electoral promises - that of a high speed rail network.
With PTI inputs