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India’s Railways Ministry says it expects to begin work soon on a detailed project report for the country’s first high-speed line with the aim of inviting global tenders for the Rs 650bn ($US 11.8bn) Pune – Mumbai – Ahmedabad project by November 2013.

High Speed Trains At St Pancras

There is a potential of 35 high-speed route planned for India. Photo by Jon Curnow.

A pre-feasibility report jointly conducted by a consortium of Systra, France, Italffer, Italy, and Rites, India suggests annual ridership on the 650km route would be around 1.1 million.

Meanwhile, the Indian government is also moving ahead with plans to establish a National High Speed Rail Authority (NHSRA). A bill to create this body, which will act as a facilitator and regulator for the high-speed network, has been prepared and is expected to be processed by parliament in November.