Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A new PSU HSRC is formally launched; how long will it take to give India its first bullet train?

When will India get such a Dream Machine? 
GIVING a further boost to India’s bid to run bullet trains at a speed of 300-350 km per hour, railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge formally launched a new public sector undertaking (PSU) named High Speed Rail Corporation of India Limited (HSRC) in New Delhi on Tuesday. HSRC has been formed on the directions of ministry of railways for development and implementation of high speed rail projects. This special purpose vehicle (SPV) was incorporated...
on July 27, 2012 as a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) which is a Miniratna public sector enterprise. The minister said that most countries consider high speed capability to be in the range of 250 to 300 km per hour which requires a dedicated track with fencing. But for India track fencing has its own set of associated issues.              
In his Budget speech last year (2012-13), the railway minister had announced that government had “decided to construct High Speed Passenger Rail corridors in the country for running trains at speed of 250-350 km per hour. As decided earlier, pre-feasibility studies on six corridors have already been taken up. One more corridor to be studied this year is Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur.”
At present, works are underway for developing two high speed corridors. A pre-feasibility study of Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar high speed corridor is being carried out. Railway Board has assigned RVNL to conduct this study. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and ministry of railways on October 7, 2013 for conducting a joint feasibility study for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail system.
Satish Chandra Agnihotri, HSRC's chairman, who is also the CMD of RVNL, said that HSRC would undertake the project activities such as preparation of project related studies, preparation of the technical standards for HSR Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor and any other corridor decided by the government. It will provide support to ministry of railways and government in finalizing the financial and implementation models.
After HSRC, High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) will be formed soon. HSRC and HSRA will have separate functions as the authority will be responsible for policy formation and corporation would be the implementation agency.
It may be recalled that the first high speed train Shinkansen, called bullet train, was introduced between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka way back in 1964. In India, Shatabdi Express is the fastest train so far which runs at the maximum speed of 150 kmph.
The Indian Railways' Vision 2020 envisages that India is unique and alone among the major countries of the world in not having a single high-speed rail corridor capable of running trains at speeds of over 250 kmph. Of late, high speed-rail networks are also getting built in China, Taiwan, and USA. Indian railways will identify a number of intercity routes, depending on viability, and build state-of-the-art high-speed corridors for speeds up to 350 kmph through on PPP mode in partnerships with the state governments.

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