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NEW DELHI: Overnight intercity travel could soon get faster as railways plans to run trains at a speed of 200-250 kmph on new high speed corridors to be announced in April this year. Railways minister Piyush Goyal has given the task to the railway board to identify high speed corridors and work on cutting the cost of construction by less than half.
A highly placed source said the minister has plan to announce 10,000 km of new high speed corridors in April 2018 fit to run trains at speed of 200-250 kmph, considering that some journeys have to be overnight and need not to be done in few hours by bullet trains running at the speed of 350 kmph and more.
He added, “The plan is to ensure that the train reaches the destination at a time that gives the traveller enough time to attend office after reaching home.” An official said the railways is targeting slashing the cost of construction of high speed tracks by less than half from the current Rs 100 crore per km approximately by exploring options such as building single pillar, two track corridors on the top of national highways or building them on existing railway land.
“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,” said a senior official.
The move will also significantly reduce the timeline of the project as the land acquisition is most tardy process in implementing government projects. On the other hand, the transporter is also considering the possibility of constructing high-speed train corridors for shorter routes where it could offer a better alternative to airlines.
An official said, “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 half, then passengers are likely to use the high-speed train.”