India's bullet train project will take time to unveil
New Delhi: India will have to wait for bullet trains due to the huge cost involved in the ambitious project, even as Railways are going ahead with its plan to run passenger trains on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route at 200 km/hr.
Currently, Rajdhani trains are expected to run at a maximum speed of 100 km/hr to 120 km/hr. Other express trains are running at an approximate speed of 80 km/hr because of the dense rail traffic.
Chairman Railway Board Vinay Mittal said even though there are several financial hurdles to overcome for materialising the high-speed train corridor project, they are working towards achieving the objective of running train at 200 km/hr on Delhi-Mumbai route.
Besides Railways are also planning to launch train sets services, a first in Indian Railways, on shorter routes.
Maintaining that global crisis is coming in the way from achieving higher growth, Railways said its earnings have, however, gone up by 20 per cent this fiscal.
"Japan is involved in the study of the high speed train on Delhi-Mumbai route and things are progressing well," Mittal said here but did not give any time-frame for its implementation.
Asked about the proposed train set project which will reduce travel time, he said though it was being studied, it will be launched in a limited scale in some Shatabdi routes.
However, on the proposed project on bullet train which will travel between 300 km/hr to 350 km/hr, he said "it is a long way to go as it involves heavy funding."
Even though Railways' finances remain a big challenge, Mittal said the bridge gap funding of Rs 3,000 crore has been paid back with interest to the Finance Ministry.
He said the foggy conditions in north India have affected Railways' revenue earnings and the poor market condition led to several of its rakes lie idle.
Expressing optimism over the increased fund allocation, he said plan allocation in the 12th Five-Year Plan to Railways has been increased to Rs 1.94 lakh crore from Rs 77,000 crore in the 11th Five-Year Plan.
"Steps are being taken to curb expenditure as there is a need for fund renewal of assets and safety upgradation," he said.