Diamond Quadrilateral project of Indian Railways

High speed rail plans accelerate

News - India & You


July 22, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

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Bullet trains in India - How feasible will they be?

Bullet trains in India – How feasible will they be? (P.C.: wikimedia)

Indian Railway plans to introduce a Diamond Quadrilateral to establish high speed railway (HSR) network connecting the main metros in India.

Connecting Metro Cities via Bullet Trains

Encouraged by the success of China in developing a vast high speed rail network, which is now the largest in the world, the Indian Railway is planning to set up its own network of trains criss-crossing the country at speeds approaching 300 kmph.

The Diamond Quadrilateral project envisages connecting the four metro cities of the country – New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The trains will run on broad-gauge tracks covering 14 states across India. The high speed trains are expected to cut travel time dramatically between these cities. For instance, currently the fastest train between New Delhi and Kolkata – the Rajdhani – takes about 17 hours to cover a distance of 1513 kms. A high speed or bullet train will take less than 5 hours. The train would pass through 12 key stations en route New Delhi, including Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Patna, according to the feasibility study conducted by Spanish train manufacturer, Talgo. The Spanish counterparts are also seeing competition from the Japanese, Chinese and French high speed train operators to build the network in India. The feasibility report says besides taking lesser time, Talgo trains will also save about 30 pc energy as these trains are more energy efficient than the existing ones.

Vijay Kumar, Executive Director Infra (Mechanical) of the Indian Railway says that Talgo were the first to contact the government about setting up HSR in India, besides claiming that they can raise the speed of trains on the existing tracks to 180 kmph, which is better than the fastest train currently running in India, the Gatimaan Express, which has a top speed of 160 kmph.

Challenges vs. Reality

Though government has projected the Diamond Quadrilateral project as the way ahead for the railways, it comes with numerous pitfalls. Implementing such large-scale infrastructure projects within the time and cost is a challenge in India as is land acquisition, which will certainly come into play for laying dedicated tracks for the HSR. Some railway experts believe that India’s current tracks can be improved to run trains at around 200 kmph, nearly 2.5 times faster than the 80-85 kmph (average speed) that the Rajdhani moves at.

Moreover, the financial viability of HSR is also taken into account as these trains run at loss in every single country where they operate currently, despite the fact that tickets on these trains are often priced higher than an air ticket. For a country where a majority of the population finds even Rajdhani fares beyond its reach, the number of travellers using the fancy HSR would be very limited.

The HSR will arguably soak in the entire budget of the Indian railways, which badly needs to upgrade and modernise its creaking infrastructure as well as add new lines to improve connectivity with the remote parts of the country, which remain cut off even over 70 years after the independence.

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  1. AK says:

    needless to say the writer is not well informed as this topic or this article is not well written; while talking about HSR (above 250kmph) it veers off to Semi High Speed (below 250 kmph) and returns later to the original story. The content about talgo is beyond the ambit of this article.

  2. SA says:

    Firstly the current operating speed of Rajdhanis is 130/140 kmph and 75-85 kmph is average speed. Even if the speed is increased to 200kmph through improvement in track and rake, the average speed shall practically be 120-125kmph.
    500km Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train project is costing 1 lac crore Rs. Quadrilateral (i.e. interconnection of 4 metros) shall involve construction of about 10000 kms of track shall cost upward of 20lac crore Rs., which leave aside Indian Railways, even the Indian Economy can not bear.
    The Mum-Ahm project has become possible due to extremely lucrative loan extended by Japan (JICA) to the tune of 81% at 0.1% interest rate with15 year payment moratorium, and 50 year payback period! Even this most lucrative route of IRlys will most probably find it difficult to get enough passengers, which according to a study must be above 1 lac per day! Passengers in such bulk is possible only if the fares are affordable to middle class passengers, which presently is not the case. Unless Indian Economy grow at astonishingly fast rate in coming years with benefits substantially percolating to middle class and lower class, high speed quadrilateral is a dream! Passengers in such bulk is possible only if the fares are affordable to middle class passengers.

  3. Suchanda Banerjee says:

    yes, here we are talking about the average speed, in comparison to the upcoming speed trains.

  4. From japan operation of this bullet trains are very safe and comfortable. Even semi high speed trains are enough to Indian citizens at affordable ticket cost like talgo. Do not go luxurious stupid uncalculated Chinese way. welcome and necessary project in affordable cost of tickets to a ordinary man.

  5. Prashant says:

    Infrastructure is the word. Without infrastructure development large scale global investment will never occur. The point is to bring railways as a hub for investment from manufacturing to homes and retail in and around each station. Investors want to know how they will transport products and services without infrastructure. I hear that all the time.

    Exponential growth is what they want. What investors know about India that is so from china is that india is a freewheeling economy.

    Finally if u note what US Secretary State Kery once famously said of India is that the country is a land of startups and entrepreneurs.

    If u work on the infrastructure in india what kind of explosive growth do u think occur anyway???

    Thats the difference between india and china. India isva democracy and china is not.

    The story of India is just on its first page in the first chapter of a book yet to be written.

    Right now the writing has started.

  6. dr anil pedgaonkar says:

    The major metros are better connected by air. we need to make domestic air travel cheaper than bullet trains a better feasible project.. with income levels rising een lower middle class people are shifting to air travel for tourism .please go through articles of Veena patil of Kesari travels who first used to opearte tours by sleper class of frontir mail hen gradated to rajdhani and then air.
    populisst policies and false promises should not be given by leders like narendra modi for election. therre should be legislation prohibiting it. Mumbai ahmedabad bullet train projet will cost country exchequer dearly when majority of villages are eprived of drinking water and schools without primary teachers. a country of mahatama gandhi can not afford such losided growth(!)
    even talgos are better, but why not use indigineous technology of multiple electric motor unit(MEMU) double decker trains rather than just two enggines of talgo on routes like Mumbai-pune to reduce travel time by 20 minutes as it is crowded by suburban trains such trains can run on muimbai s-urat -ahmedabad , mumbai s-olapur -hyderanbad, mumbai – aurangabad -parbhani , mumbai bhusaval -nagpur calcutta -tatananagr -rourkela, delhi -jaipur chennai -banagalore-coimbtore etc routes where for next 50 years there wll be no alternative to train travel. further talgo is chair car while one needs berts for propsed 13 hour journey. develop indigineous technology where avrage spped is increased as i propsed.
    in this country aroung 700 kms of Mumba-chennai trunk route is not doubled as yat and diesel traction is used for electrfied Mumbai-Pune track we should first remedy what is ailing.
    further the money could be spent in providing and improving suburban services in mumbai chennai and incorporating it in bangalore hyderabad rather than costly metro operations.

    in this country we had visionary nitishkumar who would be a better pm than modi and whose plans were implemented by lalu in garibarath express . This is still tthe best example of what politicans could do for common man.on this counrt modi chidamabaram , the current finance minsiter and suresh prabhu have failed miserably

  7. anwar deshmukh says:

    first increase the speed between MUMBAI-PUNE-SOLAPUR-HYDERABAD at speed of 160kmh and than construct bullt train track.After 60 years we can not acheive the speed of 160 for all trains and chage all conventional coaches to new modern coaches do waste time energy and money on bullt trains acieve our goal step by step.first increase the speed between MUMBAI(LTT)-PUNE from last 20 years train take time to cover a distance of 194km is 3hours and 45 minuts.All tain are late on this route

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