National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) has invited bids for preparing the alignment design and survey for six new lines across the country.
According to NHSRC, six corridors spanning 4,109Km has been proposed. This include
- Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru (435 km),
- Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad (711 km),
- Delhi-Varanasi (865),
- Delhi-Ahmedabad (886 km),
- Delhi-Amritsar (459 km) and
- MumbaiNashik-Nagpur (753Km).
Of this, Delhi-Varanasi is likely to be taken up in the first phase. Tender documents reveal that selected firms will finalise alignment using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) surveys and also prepare Stage-1 preliminary route map for six new high-speed rail lines. Tenders are likely to be finalized by the end of this month.
At present, NHSRC is tasked with 508 km Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Link project. With these six new lines, railways will be able to connect with major cities with high speed trains. While LiDAR survey will provide topographic data, ‘stage-1 survey’ involves preliminary site investigation and inspections. Sources say estimated project cost, ridership and optimal route will be revealed after these surveys before getting approvals from the railway board, state governments and Union government.
Experts say high speed rail corridors will reduce journey time by 50%. While high speed trains could operate at a speed of more than 300Kmph, it is around 160 Kmph in semi-high speed corridors. The high-speed rail corridors is likely to be built along the existing/ proposed Expressways. “The objective is to meet growing passenger demand and optimise high speed rail connectivity between major cities which are commercial and economic activity centres”, it reads.
“Contractor will also generate a topographic map with layers such as forest, flood plains, roads and railways, rivers, powerlines, habitats etc along with identifying important features in corridor such as ROB’s, existing structures and other features like the extent of forest covers, so that the alignment does not pass through the forested area to the extent possible. Cross-checking of streams and the width of rivers where the alignments cross the rivers; location of possible sites for railway stations connecting the proposed alignments with existing and under construction transport network”, it adds.
A senior railway official said that two new lines will have to be laid with fencing throughout the route. “The line may have to go either underground or elevated when it passes through the city or towns enroute. Approximately 50 metres to 60 metres width of land will be needed to lay two lines with fencing.