Government think-tank NITI Aayog has supported two projects at an estimated cost of Rs 18,163 crore to raise the speed of trains to 160-200 km per hour on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.
During the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, the minister said the 1,483 km Delhi-Mumbai route has an estimated cost of Rs 11,189 crore, while the 1,525 km Delhi-Howrah route has an estimated cost of Rs 6,974 crore. He said these routes pass through states like UP, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Jharkhand which have nearly two-thirds of the country’s population.
“The main outcome of the implementation of these projects is increase in the maximum speed of train on these routes to 160 km per hour. This will reduce the travel time of premium Rajdhani-type trains to 12 hours as against the present travel time of 15 hours 30 minutes and 17 hours respectively for Mumbai and Howrah Rajdhani,” he said.
Besides, the average speed of all trains will improve by 25 to 30 percent, he said. He also said that Gatiman express at 160 km per hour has been introduced from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Agra Cantt.
Two projects for raising the speed to 160-200 km per hour on existing corridors of New Delhi-Mumbai (including Vadodara-Ahmedabad) and New Delhi-Howrah (including Kanpur-Lucknow) have been processed for sanction, he said.
Some members in the House expressed concern about the punctuality and hygiene in trains, to which the minister said that work was on in this aspect. He said that while there had been around 80 per cent punctuality, efforts were on to improve it. He said that efforts were on to take the double the process of electrification from the current 42 per cent. He also said that with the freight corridor, thing would improve further.