Sunday, February 10, 2013

Will high speed rail connectivity from Surat to Mumbai be affordable?

SURAT: A sudden visit by a three member team of Systra, an urban rail public transport engineering consultancy firm of France, of the city to conduct a survey of passenger traffic from Surat city to Mumbai and Ahmedabad and to check the possibility of fast track passenger train on Mumbai -Ahmedabad rail corridor has again the rekindled the dream of a bullet train that will drop the passenger to Mumbai or Ahmadabad from Surat in just one hour.

For a city like Surat that doesn't have proper air connectivity, Bullet train or high speed rail transport considered as an alternative to air travel in many of the developed countries of the world, could prove to be a boon.

But, the question that needed an answer for the French team was, Will this fast track passenger transport vehicle be affordable even for citizens of the city that is economically most forward in the country on regular basis?

"This survey was not for the bullet train pilot project of the Indian railway," said Raees Mirza, Area manager Surat station.

"It was for the new track parallel to the railway tracks on Mumbai - Ahmedabad segment and special train to run on that track. The fares of the travel could be ten times higher than existing fares." He added. How many could afford and will be willing to pay up a fare of Rs 3000 or Rs 4000 for going to Mumbai or Ahmedabad is the question for which the team tried searching an answer. Project manager Pavline Marhule , Organizing and methods manager M Fabienne and planning manager Antoine Charve even had a two hour discussion with Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) commissioner Manoj Das .

Das talking to TOI said, " The team wanted to know of all the development that took place in the city and about the capacity of Surti people to spend ." It is believed that if any one could afford jet speed transport it would be Surti's but will they pay exorbitantly is a question that is untested. Box It may be reminded that Indian Railways pilot Project of Bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai with an estimated cost of Rs 60,000 has not made much progress in last 12 months and it is expected that heavy cost burden would play a major impediment for the actual progress of the project.


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