Currently, chugging along at 90 km per hour, the Shatabdi Express from Chennai takes five hours to reach Bengaluru and seven hours to reach Mysuru. This is the fastest journey passengers can make by rail on that route.

 

The Railways hopes to cut that time by half, allowing passengers to race along the rails at 160km per hour throughout the Chennai-Mysuru corridor, reducing travel time between the two cities to 4 hours 45 minutes. This would mean that you could go from Chennai to Bengaluru in under three hours.

 

These plans are part of the Railways' Mobility Directorate, set up to increase the speed of trains across India. Other such '160 km per hour' corridors being considered are Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Chennai- Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad. 

 

The Chennai-Mysuru project feasability study was done by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd, which submitted its report to the Railways last week. 

 

In the report, the company estimated that the cost of the transformation at ₹4350 crore. This cost includes relaying track, rebuilding bridges, adding fencing and level crossing and changes in signalling. The cost of the 'first phase' between Chennai and Bengaluru is estimated at ₹3200 crore. 

 

The hills and tough terrain between Chennai, Bengaluru and Mysuru present a special challenge for the Railways, and also drive up the cost of the 'semi-high speed' transformation.