Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has expressed interest in building a railway corridor along the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. A preliminary discussion on the railway corridor happened during a recent meeting of a group of infrastructure ministers. Sources told that Goyal said that building a railway corridor along the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will also prove to be cost-effective since no fresh land acquisition – one of the biggest hurdles for major infrastructure projects – would be required.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project is expected to reduce the road travel time between the two major cities to just 12-13 hours from 24 hours at present. The highway project is likely to be completed in three years, according to Roads Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. The proposed new railway corridor along the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is likely to have a speed potential of 160 kmph, keeping in mind Indian Railways’ aim to run semi-high speed trains on the Golden Quadrilateral. It is yet unclear whether the new railway corridor will be used to run only passenger trains, freight trains or a mix of both.
Incidentally, PM Modi-led Union Cabinet had last year approved the Rs 6,806 crore plan to upgrade the existing Delhi-Mumbai Indian Railways route to 160 kmph speed potential. This includes the Vadodara-Ahmedabad stretch as well. The project is expected to be complete by 2022-23. With 160 kmph speed, Indian Railways trains – whether Rajdhani Express or the upcoming sleeper versions of Vande Bharat – will complete the train journey in 10-12 hours. At present, the fastest train between Delhi and Mumbai takes over 15 hours.