Feasibility Study on 6 of 9-Semi-High-Speed sections announced in 2014 yet take off

Gatimaan Express Interior designNew Delhi: Mission Raftaar was one of the seven missions announced by Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in his budget speech this year, but work on six of nine semi-high-speed sections announced in 2014 are yet take off with no money left in the hi ministry’s kitty.

The Delhi-Agra Gatiman Express is awaiting flagging-off after it received the go-ahead from the Commission of Railway Safety.

A feasibility study is being done on the Delhi-Chandigarh section by French railways SNCF, and a Chinese company is expected to submit by April a report on the Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai section.

There has been no progress on the rest of the sections – Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahemdabad, Chennai- Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad.

This when Railways has the expertise, locomotives and coaches to increase the speed up to 160 kmph.“The assessment done by Railways for completing these nine sections pegged the amount at Rs.15,000 crore. We have the knowledge and need no outside expertise to increase the speed but there have been no orders from the top to take up the task.

No funds have been allocated for the projects except these three,” said a ministry source.

Another officer said that the maximum speed the Railways is now able to operate trains at is 130 kmph and that there is only one train – the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabadi Express – that runs at 150 kmph. “When we are talking of bullet trains of over 300 kmph speed and an investment of nearly 1 lakh crore, we should also focus on an incremental increase in the speed of other trains,” he said.

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