The parameters of the study were agreed this week after a series of meetings in China between India's High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC), Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL), and China Rail Siyuan Survey and Design Group (CRSSD). The Chinese will conduct the study free-of-charge.

The study follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in New Delhi on September 18 in the presence of India's prime minister Mr Narendra Modi and the Chinese president Mr Xi Jinping. The MoU also establishes a high-speed rail university in India with Chinese assistance and high-speed rail technology training of batches of Indian engineers at Chinese universities.

Since signing the MoU, China has also been assisting Indian Railways (IR) with its plans to increase the speed of mail and express trains to 160km/h. IR has identified nine lines for the semi-high-speed project and China Rail Eryuan Engineering Group Company (CREEGC) is now working on the Mysore – Bangalore - Chennai line.

India's high speed plans have been fast-tracked since the election of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government in May. In its first rail budget in June, the new government announced its "diamond quadrilateral" project to build a network of high-speed lines linking Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi with a direct line from Mumbai to Kolkata.

Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is expected to complete a feasibility study of the proposed Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed line next month.