New Delhi: Indian Railways has joined hands with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to lay a rail line along the proposed expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur — a first such coordinated move.
According to a study, travel time will be drastically reduced for both road and train travellers if the two projects are integrated. The expressway will be fully access-controlled while the elevated rail track will ensure an uninterrupted high-speed train journey. The elevated rail line could be built in the middle or along the proposed 800 km expressway depending on the ground situation, according to a feasibility report.
The official said that twin tunnels and bridges can also be constructed for navigating rivers and hilly areas in a coordinated manner. Both arms of the government will work together to put the project on the fast track. The Spanish consultant Ineco conducted the feasibility study on constructing the high-speed rail line along the proposed Expressway and the reports were positive, a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which is already acquiring land for the proposed expressway, will keep the rail project in mind, he added. Land acquisition is a serious problem and many rail projects, including the ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor, have been delayed due to land-related issues. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is also facing a similar problem.
Incidentally, the improved road network in the country has taken a toll on the Railways’ business on shorter routes and the national transporter is making a concerted effort to wean away goods and passenger traffic from roads and increase its share. “It’s a new way of executing the project faster, as the combined efforts to acquire land will ease a major burden on both ministries and pave the way for speedy execution,” the official said. The Mumbai-Nagpur section is part of the proposed high speed rail corridor between Howrah and Mumbai, the diamond quadrilateral rail project.