Modi, Abe launch India’s first bullet train project: Fast facts you need to know
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train project in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The much-touted rail project, which will connect Ahmedabad to Mumbai in just two hours, promises to transform railways and ‘create new India’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train project in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
The government has said the bullet train technology will revolutionise and transform the railways.
Critics, however, say the funds for the bullet train project could have been better utilised to revamp the ailing Indian Railways, which has witnessed various setbacks in the form of derailments and accidents in the past.
Here’s all you need to know about the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project:
The train will have a top speeds of 320-350 km per hour and it is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities to around 2 hours from the existing 7-8 hours. The fares could be in the range of Rs 3000 - Rs 5,000.
Passengers will have two speed options in trains:
• High-speed: It will take 2.58 hours to reach the destination
• Rapid high-speed: It will cover the distance in 2.07 hours.
Commuters and capacity
Initially, each high speed train will have 10 cars and the capacity to accommodate 750 people, The Times of India said. It will increase to 16 cars that will accommodate 1,200 people.
According to initial estimates, around 1.6 crore people are expected to travel by the bullet train annually. By 2050, around 1.6 lakh commuters should travel by the high-speed train on a daily basis.
On the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route, 12 stations have been proposed: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
The railways will only require around 825 hectares of land for the project as 92% of the route will be elevated, six per cent will go through tunnels and only the remaining two per cent will be on the ground. India’s longest tunnel -- 21-km-long -- will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, 7km of which will be under the sea.
The train tracks will elevated to 18 metres for most of its route to ensure the train runs over the existing railway route. The remaining, less than 40km, stretch will be under sea between Thane and Vasai, and underground in Mumbai, reported The Indian Express.
The 508km-long Mumbai to Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) is scheduled for completion in December 2023, but commencement date has been sought to be advanced to August 2022.
To fund the ambitious Rs 1,10,000-crore project, a loan of Rs 88,000 crore will be taken from Japan. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund it at a low rate of interest of 0.1% per annum. This loan has to be repaid to Japan in 50 years, with 15 years grace period.
Training and job creation
The government said it will create around 15 lakh new jobs in India.
A dedicated High Speed Rail Training Institute will train about 4,000 technical staff of the bullet train project, The Indian Express report said.
The Japanese government has also offered training of Indian Railways officials in Japan besides reserving fully-funded seats for the Master’s course in the universities of Japan for them.
Second bullet train project
The Indian Railways will launch the country’s second high-speed train from Delhi to Amritsar via Chandigarh. The train will run on standard broad gauge and the project shall be completed by 2024. The proposed train will cover the 458-km-long route in 2 hours and 30 minutes running at a speed of 300-350 kmph, reducing the travel time between New Delhi and Amritsar by about two and a half hours.
Proposed stops will be Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar. The fare will be fixed equivalent to that of Shatabdi’s AC executive class.
Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail networks, and its Shinkansen bullet train is among the fastest in the world. India will also get the safe Shinkansen technology but it would manufacture parts in the country under ‘Make in India’.
Shinkansen, meaning ‘new trunk line’, are trains shaped like bullets that run at the speed of 320 kmph. They have become a symbol of the country’s progress and technological advancements after the World War 2. Shinkansen have a reputation for punctuality and safety. The trains have never been in any accident since 1964, when they were introduced. The staff is asked to give an explanation if the trains are more than a minute late, a report in Economic Times said.