Germany proposes high-speed Chennai-Mysore rail network, to cut travel time by five hours

[] Travel time between Chennai and Mysore will be cut down by more than five hours by 2030, if the Railway Board approves a plan for a high-speed rail network between the two cities, proposed by the German government

The feasibility study for a 435-km high-speed rail line between Chennai and Mysore, was submitted to the Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani, by German ambassador Martin Ney. The report envisages covering the 435-km distance with a maximum speed of around 320 kmph, resulting in an overall reduction in time between Chennai and Mysore from the present seven hours, to two hours and 20 minutes.

“The study was both, commissioned and financed by the German government. The route was found to be not only extremely viable, but also prove to be the most effective solution to manage traffic growth,” Ney said. The report states that the estimated infrastructure cost of the project to be around Rs 1 lakh crore and an additional cost of Rs 150 crores, for rolling stock.

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According to the German report, the route – Chennai-Arakkonam-Bengaluru-Mysore – will be 85 per cent elevated and have 11 per cent tunnels. It will reduce travel time between Chennai and Bengaluru by 100 minutes and between Bengaluru and Mysore by 40 minutes. While the report has suggested that India integrate its existing conventional railway line with the high-speed line, instead of a dedicated high-speed corridor, in order to not only reduce costs but also minimise land acquisition issues, the Railway Board rejected the plan stating that India’s present network was too over-saturated and complicated for this.

“The proposal is an exciting one and we are reviewing it at the moment. The Germans studied both, mixed modes and dedicated mode and we decided that a detailed study of the dedicated mode was more viable. We are expecting that we will be able to ground some passengers from airlines, when they see that the travel time has been reduced so drastically. Unless one lives near the airport, trains will be faster than airlines, once this kind of high-speed rail network is introduced,” Lohani said.

While none of the officials wanted to come on record on the fare structure of the proposed high-speed train to be introduced on the line, sources say that a journey between Chennai to Mysore will be comparable to airfares on that route. The report has stated that after a planning period of three years and a construction period of nine years, the route will be operational by 2030. Other routes on which feasibility studies are being conducted include New Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Nagpur and Mumbai-Nagpur.

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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