Preparatory work for the 435km Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru high speed rail corridor project seems to be moving rapidly as the final contract to prepare a detailed project report has been awarded.
The firm will prepare drawings of alignment of the line at areas where it crosses rivers, canals, bridges, roads, railway lines, highways and other similar facilities and will also prepare a general drawing of the stations. Work on carrying out a complete mapping of the alignment is already on. The contract is the last of the seven needed to prepare a DPR.
If things go according to plan and the route is open, trains will travel at 300kmph-320kmph on standard gauge lines.
The travel time between the three cities will be reduced to just one and half hours. Currently, Shatabdi Express covers the distance in seven hours.
Two lines will have to be laid along a fenced corridor that will be 50 metres to 60 metres wide.
Though a final alignment map is being prepared, a separate contract has been awarded to a company to map only the terrain where the line has to cross rivers, smaller water bodies and other obstacles because the rules require that a thorough study be done including, in the case of rivers, up to two km on either side of the line.
As the speed is high, the terrain and its character around the line, stations and depots needs to be studied before the alignment can be fixed and stations can be designed, said a railways official. The National High-Speed Rail Corporation had already identified nine stations including Chennai, Poonamallee and Arakkonam in the state a year ago and early this year awarded contracts for final alignment design and for environment impact assessment and environment management plan.
The final alignment is being prepared using Li-DAR technology which helps in mapping the terrain including rivers and small water bodies in three to four months instead of almost a year because a helicopter fitted with sensors will be used to map the terrain. After the DPR and environment impact study is completed, the NHSRC will float tenders for civil work to start construction, said an official.
The National Rail Plan has fixed an approximate deadline of 2051 for the high speed line. The Chennai-Mysuru line is part of the six corridors including Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Varanasi proposed.