Bullet trains in next five to seven years: Velu

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Srinagar, Oct 17 (UNI) The Railways is actively preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 with plans to expand the platforms at the New Delhi Railway Station and set up new terminals and to convert it into a world class place.

The Report of the reputed Hong Kong consultant Terry Farrell for upgrading and modernising the New Delhi Railway Station will be received by December end, Minister of State for Railways R Velu told the 'All India Editors Conference on Social Sectors', being jointly hosted by the the Press Information Bureau and the Jammu and Kashmir government here. Journalists from Delhi and other places are attending the two-day programme.

The modernisation project is to cost Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore under the Public- Private partnership model, he added.

Mr Velu said the platforms at the New Delhi station are to become operational in six months time and their number will go up from 12 to 16. Besides, a new terminal is being set up at Anand Vihar.

''We would love to complete the project by the Commonwealth Games, but it all depends upon finding the right partner,'' Northern Railways' General Manager Shri Prakash said.

Mr Velu disclosed that Bullet Trains to ply in the four regions are expected to become operational in five to seven years. They will connect important stations and will run at an average speed of 250 km per hour. In Japan, Bullet trains operate at a speed of 270 kmph, and at 300 kmph in France and Germany.

Mr Velu said pre-feasibility studies for the Bullet trains will be available by this fiscal.

The Minister said there was no plan to privatise the Railways, noting that the British experiment in this regard has failed. The UK government had privatised both operations and infrastructure, but had to give up the project. The Railways in England now are subsidised.

However, the European Union has demarcated operations and infrastructure and the latter has been privatised.

''The Indian Railways is of the view that both operations and infrastructure should remain with the government. The Public-Private partnership model is to be utilised for the development of infrastructure'', Mr Velu said.

UNI

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