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NEW DELHI: In a push for India's marquee bullet train programme, the railways ministry is preparing the detailed project reports (DPR) for seven high speed rail corridors, minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

These are: Delhi-Varanasi, Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Nagpur, Mumbai-Hyderabad, Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru, and Varanasi-Howrah.

Mint had earlier reported that the railways had received DPR for New Delhi-Varanasi corridor from the National High Speed Rail Corp. Ltd (NHSRCL) and that the same for the Mumbai-Nagpur corridor was in final stages. 

India’s first bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is being executed by NHSRCL. Work on the project, however, has been slow, with challenges in route alignment and acquisition. The 500 km-plus section will entail an investment of more than 1 trillion, with trains plying at close to 300km per hour, using Japanese E5 Shinkansen technology. A trial run on a small 50km section--Surat to Vilimura--of this project is expected sometime in 2026. The investment on the project so far is 39,000 crore.

Also, civil work for 342 km of the 352 km stretch in Gujarat and Dadra & Nagar Haveli for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Corridor has started, Vaishnaw said in a separate reply to a question in Rajya Sabha. Of the total land requirement of around 1396 hectare, about 1193 hectare has been acquired.

However, land acquisition in Mumbai is at a standstill, with protests from tribals.

“All Statutory Clearances relating to wildlife, Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and Forest clearance have been obtained," said a railway ministry statement, adding that, “The anticipated cost increase and timeline can be fully ascertained only after completion of land acquisition and finalisation of all contracts."

Indian Railways has the world’s largest rail network under a single management has been trying to become future ready.

“Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan (NRP) for India – 2030. The plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. The NRP is aimed to formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight to 45%," Vaishnaw said in yet another reply today.

Some of the other focus areas for this national plan are - reducing freight transit time by increasing average freight trains’ speed to 50 km per hour (kmph); multi-tracking of congested routes; upgrading Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes’ speed to 160 kmph and that of the Golden Quadrilateral-Golden Diagonal routes to 130 kmph.

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