Trivedi may announce high speed trains in budget

New Delhi: High speed trains connecting the national capital to Jodhpur and Mumbai could be among the highlights of the Rail Budget 2012-13, which will be announced by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi next week.

The 591-km-long Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur route is slated to be taken up for pre-feasibility study for introducing bullet trains, which run at a speed of 350 km per hour, and an announcement to this effect is likely to be made on March 14.

Trivedi, who appears to be keen on introducing high speed trains in the country, could also announce a proposal for induction of trains sets, which run at 200 km per hour, on the Delhi-Mumbai route.

A train set consists of a high horse power electronic locomotive with about 10 modern coaches and is estimated to cost Rs 200 crore.

Upgrading of signalling and telecommunication system, essential for prevention of accidents in the high speed corridor, is also expected to be announced by Trivedi in his maiden Rail Budget.

Green initiatives are also likely to get a big boost this time as a proposal for manufacturing as many as 2,500 environmental-friendly toilets could be included in the budget.

The budget is likely to feature proposals for improving passenger amenities, including catering service at stations and trains. .

Notwithstanding the financial crisis and congestion of main trunk routes, Trivedi is likely to announce a slew of measures to modernise the Railways.

As far as the bullet train project is concerned, sources said the Rajasthan government had agreed to share 50 per cent cost of the project.

With the addition of the Jaipur corridor, Railways will have a total of seven routes for implementation of the bullet train project.

In order to expedite the bullet train project, the ministry is setting up a High Speed Rail Authority and a Bill in this regard is likely to be introduced in the Parliament.

The Planning Commission had recently approved the proposal for setting up a separate authority to execute the bullet train project. However, given the financial condition of the Railways, Trivedi has to make a tightrope walk while announcing new projects in the Budget.