According to sources, the rail ministry is considering a proposal from a US-based NRI group to start maglev trains in India. The cost of building the line: a jaw-dropping $30 billion. The NRI group has been sending feelers to railway minister Lalu Prasad in this connection. The group wants to make a presentation before the minister, highlighting the advantages of the magnetic levitation technology.
The proposal is at a preliminary stage. However, if it is cleared by the ministry, the Delhi-Mumbai corridor would be taken up for implementation at an estimated cost of $30 billion (approximately Rs 1,35,000 crore). Pillars would be set up from Mumbai to New Delhi for laying the tracks. The minister may discuss the proposal internally next week.
Industry sources say the prohibitive cost of the project may be a dampener. Even the US, which has been showing interest in the maglev train system, has found it difficult to implement it, due to the high cost.
Maglev trains are run on the principle of electromagnetic propulsion. Instead of using fossil fuels, the magnetic field created by the electrified coils in the guideway walls and the track combine to propel the train. These trains float on a cushion of air, eliminating friction. The lack of friction and the trainâ€™s aerodynamic design allow the train to reach speeds of more than 500 kph.