The study is being done free-of-charge under a memorandum of understanding signed last year in New Delhi in the presence of India's prime minister Mr Narendra Modi and the Chinese president, Mr Xi Jinping.

The CRSSD team is led by vice-chief-engineer Mr Pan Guoqiang, and includes lead engineer Mr Liu Yongchun, economy and traffic expert Mr Liao Shiyuan and financial expert Mr Xu Xin. The cost of constructing the line is estimated at Rs 2 trillion ($US 32.14bn).

Meanwhile, 12 consultancy firms have submitted bids to conduct feasibility studies for three additional high-speed lines: Delhi – Mumbai, Mumbai – Chennai, and Chennai – Kolkata. Bidders include CRSSD, DB International, Egis Rail, Italferr, Systra and TUC. Indian Railways expects to announce the winners in June.

In addition, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Company is studying how to increase line speeds on the 490km Chennai - Bangalore - Mysore main line from 110 to 160km/h.