INDIA: The Ministry of Railways has invited bids to undertake feasibility studies for the development of high speed lines in three corridors, at an estimated cost of Rs300m.

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu made clear when announcing the railway budget and five-year action plan in February that his priority was to modernise and enhance capacity on the existing Indian Railways network. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly keen to push ahead with the long-term development of 300 km/h lines connecting the country’s four main cities, despite the estimated cost of more than Rs2 000bn.

With Chinese companies already at work on a study of the Delhi – Chennai corridor, the new studies will look at three of the four corridors in the so-called Diamond Quadrilateral: Delhi – Mumbai, Delhi – Kolkata and Mumbai – Chennai.

Up to 12 international consultancies from six countries are reported to have expressed interest in the contracts, including DB International, Sener and Italferr, with further bids expected from Japanese and South Korean firms. According to the ministry, the preferred bidders are due to be selected by July, with a separate company to be selected for each route.

A feasibility study backed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency is already underway for a 534 km high speed line linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which is provisionally estimated to cost around Rs65bn. This line could form the first stage of a Delhi – Mumbai route which is expected to halve the fastest journey time between the two cities of around 16 h on IR’s premier Rajdhani Express services.

  • Read more about Suresh Prabhu’s Action Plan and the IR budget in the April 2015 issue of Railway Gazette International.