The Union Cabinet approved proposal to increase the speed of trains on the busy New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah routes to 160kmph from the current 130kmph in order to reduce travel time by at least three and half hours, according to a government statement.
The project, to be executed at an investment of Rs 13,489 crore, is part of the 100-day agenda of the Narendra Modi government in its second term.
An analysis by the Indian Railways showed that only 0.3% of the over 60,000-km railway network is fit to handle trains running at 160kmph while 5% of it can handle the maximum speed of 130kmph.
The government has given its approval for increasing the speed of the Delhi-Mumbai route (including Kanpur-Lucknow) to 160 Kmph at a total cost of Rs 6,806 crore by 2022-23. This will ensure improved speed, service, safety and create capacity, read the government statement.
The estimated cost to upgrade the speed on the Delhi-Howrah route will be Rs 6,684 crore and the work will be completed by 2022-23, according to railway officials .
This also requires removal of all level-crossings which are being done away with under a separate plan head, according to the railways. The government claims that the project will help boost employment during the construction phase with more than 3.6 crore man-days to be generated directly.
The railways is also working to increase train speeds in all the routes of Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals — Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah, Howrah-Chennai, Chennai-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai and Howrah-Mumbai.