Overnight intercity travel via trains at the speed of 200-250 kmph can soon be possible, according to a report in The Times of India.
The report says that high speed corridors – almost a 10,000 km stretch – will be announced in April and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has been tasked with overseeing the successful completion of the project without any escalation in the budget allocated.
Sources told the newspaper the sector is targeting to cut the cost of construction of high speed tracks by less than half from the current Rs 100 crore per km approximately.
The Railways is exploring options such as building single pillar, two track corridors on the top of national highways or building them on existing railway land to cut on expenditure.
However, the high speed train travel in India will require investment in the infrastructure to support it. The trains will require durable and compatible railway tracks, high maintenance of the tracks and the train carriages and enough power to keep the train going at that speed.
Last year, the country saw numerous cases of train derailments. The derailing of the trains have put a question mark on the travel safety and with the proposal of high speed tracks, travellers may be skeptical to avail this facility.
If the high speed rails have to be full proof, an adequate and generous amount of funding is required. Although in Budget 2018, a generous amount of Rs 1,48,528 crore as capital expenditure has been allocated to the sector, the infrastructure is targeted to be cost-efficient and for the sector to use the cost in other major developments such as the upcoming bullet trains, electric locomotives, among other future developments.