High Speed Train

Proposed project:

  • upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh line to a semi-high speed of 200 kmph
  • Ahmedabad and Mumbai on which it will run “bullet” trains
  • a proposed high speed network spanning the country, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata
Basics:
  • High speed rail programs have been successful in Japan, China and several European countries such as France, Germany and Spain.
  • India has been toying with the idea of high speed trains for fifteen years. The High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC) of India was set up by the government in 2012 to design and implement the country’s high speed projects. Through this, feasibility studies for various segments of the ‘Diamond Quadrilateral’, a proposed high speed network spanning the country, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, were initiated.
Benefits:
  • reduced journey times that impact individuals and business,
  • connectivity benefits to populations and markets,
  • increased passenger comfort,
  • mode shifts from more polluting air and road transport and consequently, lower road congestion.
  • High speed rail can create agglomeration benefits i.e., benefits that accrue from the clustering together of firms and labour markets, and regeneration benefits for an area.
  • The actual construction also provides an opportunity for employment and the potential for technology transfer.
Concerns:
  • Environmental degradation along the route,
  • dislocation of people,
  • noise pollution,
  • regionally imbalanced development
  • How the high speed line interacts with existing transport choices is also crucial for the strength of the overall case.
Cost Debate:
  • If the 500 km journey between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is about Rs 2,800, then the Delhi-Chennai journey is likely to cost Rs.11,200. A one way flight for this journey booked ten days in advance costs in the ballpark of Rs.4,000, suggesting challenges for the Delhi-Chennai high speed model.
Related Questions:
Does India need projects such as this at such a high cost? Comment.