The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train from Japan – Indian Railways first such project – will be modified for the Indian climate, says Achal Khare, man in-charge of the ambitious project. According to Khare, who is the MD of National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), to begin with 24 bullet train rakes will be procured from Japan for the project under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. “We are supposed to procure 24 rakes and the two governments (India and Japan) are working on the ‘Make in India’ aspect of the project,” Achal Khare told Financial Express Online in an exclusive interaction. These 24 rakes will be procured from Japan with varied degrees of ‘Make in India’. India is getting Japan’s Shinkansen E5 series of bullet trains, but with India-specific modifications.
Elaborating on the same, Achal Khare told FE Online, “The main modifications will be based on the environmental considerations. Our environmental conditions are different from Japan. It is more cold in Japan compared to India. On the other hand, India is hotter compared to Japan.” While from the passengers perspective the train will be similar to the E5 Shinkansen bullet train series, the air-conditioning will be more effective. “The bullet train air-conditioning for India has to be different. We do not require the heating mechanism here in India, unlike Japan where temperatures dip to minus. The air-conditioning, on the other hand has to be stronger in India,” Khare said. “Dust content is another factor – Japan does not use filters in its important components, but in India the dust content is more so we need to design some systems keeping that in mind,” he added.
According to Khare, the ‘Make in India’ modalities of the project are being worked out with Japan. “We have come to an agreement that we will have 6 rakes (out of 24) assigned for ‘Make in India’. There will be three phases of ‘Make in India’, and phase 3 will have a greater aspect of Make in India. Maybe some critical parts which cannot be manufactured in India may come from Japan. The Japanese side is in talks with the Indian counterparts. Further details of this will be worked out between them, but broadly 6 rakes will initially be made in India,” Khare said. “For the other 18 rakes, there will be the other two phases of Make in India. Like in phase I, a few rakes will come from there and in phase 2 the assembly, testing and commissioning of the rakes may be considered. Phase 3 will involve manufacturing of the rakes in India. Every 10 years additions will be made to the fleet,” Khare explained.
The two manufacturers of bullet trains in Japan – Hitachi and Kawasaki – are reportedly in talks with Indian companies to set up a manufacturing plant in India. India’s first bullet train is slated to start service in August 2022, with full operations beginning in 2023. The bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will take less than 3 hours, covering 12 stations; Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Bilimora, Vapi, Boisar, Virar, Thane and Mumbai.