The premiere think-tank of the Government of India, NITI Aayog has approved investments worth Rs 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said.
“We are working on Gatiman Express which is India’s fastest train at 180 km per hour and trying for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata which are major routes with a speed of maximum 200 km per hour (kmph) and that will be an investment of Rs 18,000 crore which has already been approved by the NITI Aayog,” said Mr Prabhu while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM International Conference – RAILTECH 2017.
“When we proposed it, they were apprehensive but now everybody realises importance of it as it is a least-cost option, so we are trying to do that, you can imagine the trains can go at that speed from Delhi to Mumbai and how much travel time will be reduced,” he said. He also said that Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.
“There are a lot of studies which are going on and they are in a very advanced stage, so we will start implementing that in the next few months’ time,” the Union Minister said. He added that the Government was working towards introducing cutting-edge technology of future in all aspects of railways with it not only being imported but being co-developed in India.
“We already had about 6-8 months ago, a programme in which we called all the major technology developers who had not yet fully developed, commercialized the technology which can take the speed of railways to more than 600 kmph and we are already working with them, companies like Hyperloop,” said Mr Prabhu.
Talking about the use of high-end technology on safety front, he said that self-propelled detection of tracks together with use of ultrasonic machines and geo-spatial technology to alert about unmanned railway crossings are underway.
On laying of railway tracks, he said that automatic track laying machines which are already being used on Dedicated Freight Corridor will now be tried all over the country. “This has already resulted in increasing the speed of putting the track which was only three km per day to almost eight km per day and the target is to take it to 20 kms. per day in the next three years and definitely we are on track for doing that,” said Mr Prabhu. He said considering that capital expenditure needed for optimal technology has gone from Rs 30,000 crore a year to almost Rs 2,75,000 crore in the last 2.5 years shows the commitment of the Government.