French national railway SNCF and Indian Railways have started a one-year project to study the viability of upgrading the 245km line from New Delhi to Chandigarh, in order to run ‘semi-high speed’ trains at up to 200km/h.
This is part of a protocol for co-operation, that was signed by the railway authorities of the two countries last April.
SNCF has also agreed to support Indian Railways’ pilot projects to develop the Ambala and Ludhiana railway stations, which are among the 400 stations that would be modernised and upgraded with the help of ‘French experience and expertise’.
The study will help India learn from France’s station improvement experience, and devise a way to upgrade architecture, rail platforms and real estate of each of these stations.
The study will be undertaken for six months and involve a team of 12 experts from SNCF-Gares & Connections and AREP, reported Railwaygazette.com.
SNCF-Gares & Connexions is the French Railway unit that manages 3,029 stations in France while AREP specialises in architecture.
Plans to develop Ludhiana and Ambala railways stations are part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed early this week by the Indian Railways and SNCF in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
According to the agreement, the two railways will develop a renovation concept design, including new buildings and 3D plans, reported Livemint.com.
A firm in which SNCF holds interest, Systra has been involved in engineering and project management works on several phases of the metro projects in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.