Taking India's first bullet train closer to reality, work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project will commence soon, with the first tranche of $1 billion from a total loan of about $14 billion to be released during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the country on September 12-14.
Taking India’s first bullet train closer to reality, work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project will commence soon, with the first tranche of $1 billion from a total loan of about $14 billion to be released during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the country on September 12-14. The $17-billion high-speed railway line of 508 km, which will be built on Japan’s Shinkansen technology, is expected to be operational by 2022-23, India’s 75th year of independence.
The initial agreement on the project was signed between India and Japan during Abe’s last visit to India in December 2015. The foundation ceremony of the project will be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe near Ahmedabad on September 13, official sources said.
Of the project cost of Rs 1,10,000 crore, Rs 88,000 crore will come from Japan as a 50-year soft loan at a benign interest rate of 0.1%. The amount to be repaid is just Rs 90,500 crore. The initial disbursal of $1 billion will be used to give compensation for land, set up a training institute in Ahmedabad and for some construction-related activities.
In the meantime, Japan will train 300 officers and 4,000 staff of Indian Railways for the smooth running of the high-speed trains. Around 137 officers have already been trained by Japanese experts, the sources added. The railways has already created the National High Speed Rail Corporation to execute the project.
At present, an aerial survey done earlier is being analysed and alignment of the route is being finalised. The process of land acquisition will start soon though most of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch will run on government land.
While the bullet train will be built with the Japanese technology, some of the accessories will be manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ programme, a plan which is expected to create jobs and bring up ancillary companies. The Confederation of Indian Industry and the department of industrial policy and promotion have held one workshop relating to tracks through video conferencing with industry representatives from both countries recently. Another on rolling stock is slated to be organised to explore ways to blend the programme with Make in India.
The first bullet train will run between Mumbai and Sabarmati in Gujarat. There will be a total of 12 stations on the route. Also, there will be two categories of train — one which will stop at all 12 stations and complete the journey in two hours and 58 minutes, and another which will stop at four stations and complete the journey in two hours and 7 minutes. While the expected speed at which the trains will operate is 320 km per hour, these can run at a top speed of 350 km per hour.
Out of the 508 km, 468 km, or 92%, will be on an elevated corridor whereas 27 km or 6% will be under tunnels and a meagre 13 km or 2% will be at ground level. Initially, 10-coach trains with a capacity of 750 passengers will be operated, which will eventually be replaced by 16-coach trains that can carry 1,200 passengers.
As per estimates, 36,000 passengers are expected to commute daily when the service will start and will eventually go up to 1,86,000 passengers per day in 30 years by 2053. During this period, the one-way 35 daily trains will go up to 105. The prices of tickets are expected to be 1.5 times that of the air-conditioned first class and may be in the range of Rs 2,700-3,000.