Centre prepares blueprint in major push for high-speed transport infra

As the government puts focus on developing high speed transportation networks for passengers and goods, the railway ministry is considering the laying of greenfield railway lines along existing tracks between Secunderabad and Bengaluru for running semi-high speed trains at 200 kmph. Meanwhile, the road transport and highways ministry has also prepared the blueprint to increase the length of expressways and access-controlled highways to 20,000 km in the next two decades.

Sources said the initial estimated cost of the semi-high speed track connecting the two IT cities in Telangana and Karnataka is around Rs 30,000 crore and this project may be taken up under the Gati-Shakti initiative. They added since the new tracks would have to be segregated from the existing tracks for faster train movement, the railways would need to build side walls of 1.5 meter along the new tracks.

Railway ministry officials said the rollout of more Vande Bharat-type trains, which can run at a maximum speed of 160-200 kmph will get priority in the next two-three decades as the national transporter steps up efforts to increase the speed of trains by augmenting track infrastructure. “Going for Vande Bharat coaches is the natural progression and this is going to happen soon. Decades after the introduction of conventional passenger coaches or ICF, we went for modern and safer coaches or LHB. The next step is to go for Vande Bharat train-sets. These will eventually have a major share of our passenger rolling stock,” said a railway ministry official.

Officials said the roadmap for the road and rail infrastructure for the next 25 years will be on reducing the logistics cost and integrating the transport network, known as multi-modal transport system.

The highways ministry has prepared the blueprint to increase the length of expressways and access-controlled highways by more than 15 times in the next two decades in its bid to provide seamless networks for faster movement of freight. These high speed highway networks will connect the 770 economic nodes which have been identified. “The future planning and implementation of the infrastructure projects will be complete integration of airports with railways, Metro Rail and highway network. The transit has to be seamless. Another thrust area will be reduction of construction cost and time,” said a senior government official.

Similarly, in the case of city transport, the focus will be on developing a mechanism where the state transport department or a transport corporation would have an online platform to allow people to buy tickets that can be used for different modes of transport.

A senior official in the road transport ministry also said all the future and existing major national highway stretches will get charging stations for electric vehicles. “It’s a foregone conclusion that in future we will have more electric vehicles and the ones running on other green fuels. The planning has to start now so that we are ready to meet the emerging requirements,” he added.

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