Indian Railways may use one of its existing facilities to manufacture the coaches for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Modern Coach Factory in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli is one of the options being explored by Indian Railways. MCF had made a detailed presentation to the high-powered committee on the bullet train project recently. “A fresh plant for making bullet train coaches would require a strong order book, which will not be possible with a single project,” a person close to the development said on the condition of anonymity. “Any manufacturer will set up a plant only if there is assured demand,” the official told Financial Express Online.
The land acquisition process for the project is on. While laying the foundation stone for the Rs 1.1 lakh crore project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the project would be executed under the Make in India programme. Recently, an MCF team under Rajesh Agrawal, the then general manager of the Modern Coach Factory, made a presentation to a high-level group on the possibility of manufacturing bullet train coaches at the facility. This group, consisting of officials from India and Japan, is closely monitoring the progress of the bullet train project. Agrawal has since become a member of the Railway Board.
The presentation by MCF highlighted the fact that the Rae Bareli facility has robotic production lines, which would make it easier to manufacture bullet train coaches. The possibility of using Indian Railways coach factories for the bullet train may come up for discussion during PM Modi’s visit to Japan later this year.
In a recent interaction with Financial Express Online, Achal Khare, MD of National High Speed Rail Corporation, said that the Japanese E5 Shinkansen bullet train will be modified for Indian conditions. NHSRCL is the executing body of the bullet train project. India will initially require 24 rakes of the bullet train, of which 18 are expected to be procured directly from Japan while the rest will be assembled or manufactured under Make in India.
Additions to the bullet train fleet will be made every few years depending on the wear and tear of the existing rakes and the demand. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will cover the 508-kilometre distance between the two cities in around 3 hours, and will stop at 12 stations. The bullet train is expected to be rolled out by August 15, 2022, while full-fledged operations will begin in 2023.