New Delhi, Aug. 12: Bullet train rides between Calcutta and Asansol could become a possibility soon if a technical study on the high-speed rail corridor proves the project is viable enough to be taken up.
One such assessment could begin as early as this month, when a team of experts from the French railway arrives in Delhi to hold talks on the plan.
The railway ministry is also seeking help from Japan, home to such bullet trains. The French team will offer inputs on traffic patterns, funding plans and fares.
Four high-speed routes, each costing Rs 25,000 crore, were proposed in the railway budget presented this February. They are Howrah-Asansol-Patna, Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, Mumbai-Baroda-Ahmedabad and Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore.
A preliminary study was conducted by Rites, a railways-owned company offering technical consulting services, for the 492km Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.
A study establishing the viability is essential for financial institutions and companies, which will be engaged as private partners in the bullet train project. It is also necessary for the government, which is committed to providing funds to meet shortfalls. Each kilometre of the corridor will cost Rs 50 crore to build.