Indian Railways Minister Pawan Bansal once again stressed his desire to see high-speed rail projects get underway in the country while speaking at the International Seminar on High Speed Trains in New Delhi.
Bansal said: “The rapid urbanisation, growing economy, rising level of educated work force with higher levels of income has caused greater growth in intercity travel both for business and personal reasons and high-speed train services may be required to fulfill the demand gap for faster intercity and inter-regional movement of passenger traffic.”
It is necessary to keep pace with the latest developments taking place around the world in the railway sector and technology, the minster stressed.
Bansal pointed out that six corridors have been identified for techno-economic feasibility studies.
The pre-feasibility reports have shown that these identified corridors are at various stages of preparation and study.
The Indian government has already identified the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, as the pilot project of this kind and this project needs an estimated $12.5 billion of investment.
With respect to using less fossil fuel for transportation, Member Electrical, Railway Board and patron, Institution of Railway Electrical Engineers, Kul Bhushan said: “The need for the introduction of high-speed railways in India, not only stems from the rapid demand growth in inter-city passenger segment travel, but also out of the need to curtail over dependence of this nation on imported fossil fuel and the resultant environmental effect.”
Land has become a scarce resource in the country. High speed rail systems are mostly built on elevated pathways, requiring negligible land, compared to six-lane highways, Kulbhushan added.
Chairman of the Railway Board Vinay Mittal said that from the very first Japanese-built Tokaido-Shinkansen high-speed line, there are now 15 countries where high-speed trains of 300 kmph or more are running.
Mittal said, as high speed trains has economic and social impacts which have been well documented world over. There is now a need to develop an appropriate financial model which enhances the expansion of such trains in developing countries.