Mumbai-Howrah, Mumbai-Chennai high-speed rail corridors likely to get nod in Union Budget 2018
The four remaining corridors required to the complete the railways’ ambitious golden quadrilateral, including Mumbai-Howrah and Mumbai-Chennai, are likely to be approved in the Union Budget 2018-19.
The golden quadrilateral entails the interconnection of four major metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata – through a high-speed network.
Two corridors of the quadrilateral, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah, were sanctioned at a cost of Rs 11,189 crore and Rs 6,875 crore respectively in the last Union budget.
The remaining four – Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Howrah, Mumbai-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah – will now be connected through high-speed corridors, with trains running at a speed of 160 kmph to 200 kmph.
According to officials, the estimated cost of the remaining corridor is likely to be about Rs 40,000 crore.
The plan is to launch the high-speed ‘golden quadrilateral’ by August 15, 2022, which will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence.
Once these corridors are operational, the train travel time between these metros will reduce by 50 percent.
For instance, currently, the travel time from Kolkata to Mumbai varies from 26 to 40 hours. While Duronto takes 26 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Jnaneswari Express takes 30 hours to reach Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.
With semi-high-speed trains, however, the travel time will vary between 10-16 hours.
The government, in one of the biggest financial sector reforms since independence, had merged the Rail Budget with the Union Budget from the year 2017-18 based on the recommendations of the committee headed by Bibek Debroy, Member, NITI Aayog.