Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON) International Limited, on behalf of India’s Ministry of Railways, to conduct pre-feasibility studies for a proposed US$26.6bn high speed rail service between Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Patna.
India’s demand for public transport has been growing at around 10% a year over the last decade but the development of the country’s public transport infrastructure has lagged behind in comparison. The Government’s Vision 2020, India’s long term national development plan, is being introduced to rectify this imbalance and it envisages the implementation of four high speed rail projects, one in each region of the country. There are also plans for a further eight high speed corridors to connect commercial, tourist and pilgrimage hubs in India. Also supporting the development of high speed rail corridors is both the desire for more environmentally friendly public transport services to relieve traffic congestion and pollution on roads, as well as faster more time-efficient journeys which can be provided by the new high speed rail systems using bullet trains capable of travelling up to 300 kilometres per hour.
Mott MacDonald will help to identify key issues for development of the project on a public-private partnership basis. This will include reviewing all technical aspects of the property and the corridor infrastructure development in relation to alignment with existing facilities as well as any environmental impacts and assessment of high speed rail technology. It will also involve analysis of operational and business requirements, ranging from forecasting preliminary service ridership figures, estimating capital required, costs and benefits analysis and development of a planning and implementation schedule as well as an organisational structure for taking the project forward.
Gaurav Srivastava, Mott MacDonald’s project director commented, “With over 100 years’ experience in developing rail systems, Mott MacDonald is one of the world’s leading transport consultancies and provides clients with a one-stop railway capability and consultancy service, paying attention to safety and sustainability. We are delighted that our rail specialists, Michael de Voil and Jean-Pierre Quinaut, are involved in the delivery of this important assignment.”
He added, “High speed rail would position India for future growth and economic development and spur tourism. There is an untapped, potentially huge market in India for premium transport services, which combine speed, safety and comfort.”
Mott MacDonald’s report is due for completion towards the end of 2011.