While India has one of the largest rail networks in the world, as of 2014 it does not have any kilometers classed as high-speed rail (HSR), which allowing an operational speed of 200 km/h or more. Compared to China, which has a 7% more population, has 19,369 km in operation and 17,078 km under construction. The current fastest train in India is the Bhopal Shatabdi that runs with a top speed of 150 km/h.
Prior to the 2014 general election, the two major national parties (BJP and INC) both pledged to introduce high-speed rail. The INC pledged to connect all of India’s million-plus cities by high-speed rail, whereas BJP, which won the election, promised to build the Diamond Quadrilateral project, which would connect via high-speed rail the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. The project was confirmed as a project of priority for the new government in the President’s speech.
Currently there are no semi high speed rail routes in India. A trial run has been successfully completed on Delhi – Agra section and plans are to start these trains on Delhi – Bhopal / Chandigarh / Kanpur / Lucknow sections after starting on Delhi – Agra section. The Delhi – Agra semi high speed train is expected to start in November 2014. Mumbai Rajdhani Express will be upgraded to 200 kmph. This will reduce 8 hours of traveling time. Railway Minister Mr. Sadanand Gauda mentioned in his Rail budget 2014 speech that the railways are going to start high speed trains at 160-200 kmph on 9 routes.
|Semi High-Speed Corridor||Speed||Track gauge||Distance (km)||Time reduced||Operations per day||Start Operations||Status|
|Delhi – Agra||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||195||30 min||November 2014||Successful trial run in July 2014. This service may start operations from November 2014.|
|Chennai –Hyderabad||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||915||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Delhi – Chandigarh||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||244||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Delhi – Kanpur||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||441||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Mumbai –Ahmedabad||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||493||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Mumbai – Goa||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||1230||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Mysore – Bangalore– Chennai||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||495||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Nagpur –Raipur –Bilaspur||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||413||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
|Nagpur –Secunderabad||160 kmph||Broad Gauge||575||Approved in 2014 Railway Budget|
High Speed Rail Projects
In India, trains in the future with top speeds of 300–350 km/h, are envisaged to run on elevated corridors to isolate high-speed train tracks and thereby prevent trespassing by animals and people.
The current conventional lines between Amritsar-New Delhi, and Ahmedabad-Mumbai runs through suburban and rural areas, which are flat and have no tunnels. Ahmedabad-Mumbai line runs near the coast therefore have more bridges, and parts of it are in backwaters or forest. The 1987 RDSO/JICA feasibility study found the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line as most promising.