Introduction of bullet trains starting off with the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and an ambitious plan to have a Diamond Quadrilateral network of high speed rail connecting major metros and growth centres are on the anvil.
The announcement was part of the Rail Budget presented by Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda in Lok Sabha on Tuesday which also spoke of efforts to increase the speed of trains in select sectors to up to 200 km per hour.
The Rail Budget has identified nine sectors in this regard that includes the prestigious Delhi-Agra rail line and the busy Delhi-Chandigarh and Mumbai-Ahmedabad sectors.
Besides, the speed of trains is to be increased to 160-200 km in the Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad sectors.
A provision of Rs 100 crore has been made in the Budget for High Speed project to Railway Vikas Nigham Limited/High Speed Rail Corridor for taking further steps.
“It is the wish and dream of every Indian that India runs a bullet train as early as possible. Indian Railways is on its way to fulfil that long cherished dream,” Mr. Gowda said.
The Minister said while bullet trains will require completely new infrastructure, higher speed for existing trains will be achieved by upgrading the present network.
“Hence, an effort will be made to increase the speed of trains to 160—200 kmph in select sectors to significantly reduce travel time between major cities,” he said.
Tourist trains to connect pilgrim centres
Aiming at boosting domestic tourism, Railways announced several tourist trains connecting pilgrim centres across the country.
Special pilgrim circuits like Devi Circuit, Jyotirling Circuit, Jain Circuit among others have been identified by railways for running pilgrim trains were announced in the Rail Budget 2014-15.
Besides, the NDA government’s maiden Rail Budget proposed to introduce trains in Christian Circuit, Muslim/Sufi Circuit, Sikh Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and other famous temple circuits across the country.
Private participation in the pilgrim sector will also be encouraged, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said while presenting Rail Budget 2014-15.
He said there is a huge untapped potential in the field of domestic tourism in the country. “We plan to take up eco-tourism and education tourism in North-Eastern states,” he said.
Railways also proposed a tourist train from Gadag to Pandarpur passing through Bagalkot, Bijapur and Solapur covering the pilgrim and tourist places of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Tourist train from Rameswaram covering pilgrim and tourist places like Bengaluru, Chennai, Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar.
The Rail Budget also proposed a special train featuring life and works of Swami Vivekananda.