Monday, August 20, 2012

High-speed corridor dream ride on fast track
- British company likely to submit pre-construction assessment of route by August-end

A dream ride from the state capital to New Delhi in high-speed trains matching international standards could take a step towards reality by August-end.
Britain-based Mott Macdonald Group Ltd is likely to submit its final report on the pre-feasibility study of a high-speed corridor between Patna and New Delhi via Varanasi by the end of this month.

“The study on the Delhi-Varanasi-Patna high-speed corridor is in the advanced stages. It is actually ahead of a few other high-speed corridors proposed in the country. The firm engaged in conducting the (pre-feasibility) study on the Delhi-Varanasi-Patna corridor is expected to submit the final report by the end of this month. However, any decision on the corridor will be determined only on the basis of the findings of the final report,” an officer in the rank of a joint secretary in the railway ministry told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi.
The proposed New Delhi-Patna corridor passes through Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Once operational, commuters would be able to cover the 1,000km-plus distance in barely fours hours at a speed of 300kmph. At present, the same distance is covered in around 12 hours by trains.
The submission of the final report assumes significance in the wake of the recent decision of Indian Railways to form National High Speed Rail Authority, which would initiate steps for pre-construction work. According to sources, the draft bill to form National High Speed Rail Authority has been moved for the Centre’s approval.
“The pre-feasibility study on this corridor will be followed by floating of tenders for the preparation of the detailed project report, subject to sanction of the proposal,” the railway officer said.
Mott Macdonald Group Ltd, also, has the same version to share. “The company submitted an inception report to Railway Board in March 2011. The report outlined the concept of high-speed corridor, its global history and the scope and objectives. Subsequently, the interim report-1 was submitted in the last week of August last year. The interim report-II was submitted in the first week of October 2011. It focused on a straight-line route between cities to minimise distance. Now, we have completed the work on the final report as well and it would be submitted by the end of this month,” an executive of Mott Macdonald said.
On the role of the state governments, the railway ministry officer said: “The role of state government would be pertaining to the availability of land and power.”
The sources said new and dedicated tracks to be constructed for the high-speed corridor would be free from conventional level crossings to avoid accidents. These would also be provided with proper fencing to avoid any external contact, including cattle and vehicles. Besides, bridges would be constructed over rivers and other densely populated areas.


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