Public sector client Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON) appointed UK-based Mott MacDonald to undertake pre-feasibility studies for a high speed rail service in India.

The study is part of the Indian Government’s ‘Vision 2020’ national development scheme. Under the plan, the government has stated its intent to implement the project in each of the four regions of India. The high speed rail project was developed as a response to the 10 per cent yearly increase in demand for public transport in India.

Mott MacDonald rail specialists Michael de Voil and Jean-Pierre Quinaut will guide the study covering a proposed service between Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Patna. The capital value of the corridor is approximately INR 1110bn (USD 24.54bn).

A Mott MacDonald spokesman said, “[We] will help to identify key issues for development of the project on a public-private partnership basis. This will include reviewing all technical aspects of the property and the corridor infrastructure development in relation to alignment with existing facilities as well as any environmental impacts and assessment of high-speed rail technology.

“It will also involve analysis of operational and business requirements, ranging from forecasting preliminary service ridership figures, estimating capital required, costs and benefits analysis and development of a planning and implementation schedule as well as an organisational structure for taking the project forward.”

The pre-feasibility report was scheduled for completion in late 2011 as T&TI went to press.

The spokesman added that eight further high-speed rail corridors are planned to connect economic, tourist and pilgrimage ‘hubs’ in the country.