Moving swiftly to ensure faster train travel, Indian Railways is all set to begin construction work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor next year. In a report, TOI quoted Railway board member (traffic) Mohammed Jamshed as saying that the work for this bullet train corridor will start by next year. The Mumbai to Ahmedabad high-speed corridor will be built with the assistance of Japan. The corridor will be based on the Japanese Shinkansen high-speed technology. A company “National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited”, that will implement the project, has already been formed.
The project is expected to be completed between 2023 and 2024, and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has recently assured that the tariff for travel on this bullet train will be less than airfare. The Japanese government is providing financial assistance for the project in the form of a loan upto 81% of the cost at a a nominal interest rate of 0.1% per annum. This loan has to be repaid in 50 years with a 15 year moratorium.
Five other corridors for over 300 kmph speed trains have been identified by Indian Railways. These are: Delhi-Mumbai high speed corridor, Mumbai-Chennai high speed corridor, Delhi-Kolkata high speed corridor, Delhi-Nagpur high speed corridor and Mumbai-Nagpur high speed corridor. Feasibility studies are being conducted for all these five routes and the final reports for all except Delhi to Nagpur are expected in January 2017. In case of the Delhi to Nagpur corridor, the inception report has been received.
Watch Exclusive Interior Preview Of Talgo Train
Meanwhile, Talgo, the Spanish manufacturer of high-speed trains has successfully completed its three-phase rigourous trials in India. The final run of the train was on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani stretch, where Talgo proved that its coaches can help reduce travel time by 4 hours compared to the Rajdhani. According to Anil Saxena, the Additional Director General Public Relations at Railway Ministry, talks are on to use the Talgo coaches on Shatabdi routes.
Suresh Prabhu-led Indian Railways has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to implement its high-speed train projects on various routes across India. The high-speed train programme has two aims; one to run trains at a speed of over 300 kmph and the other to have semi-high speed trains that will ply at 160-200 kmph speeds. Additionally, the idea is to run existing trains at higher speeds and to introduce faster train sets. The last project is also part of the ‘Mission Raftaar’ that was announced by Suresh Prabhu during the Railway Budget this year.