5 points you need to know about Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train

Marsha Scott
September 14, 2017

"The commencement of work on the country's first High Speed Rail (Bullet train) project will begin on September 14 in Ahmedabad", Goyal told reporters, adding that the bullet train technology would "revolutionise and transform the transport sector". It will benefit the farmers for transportation of agricultural produce in a fast mode.

The Railway Minister said that the high-speed rail was envisioned by PM Modi to take Indian Railways towards "most modern technologies like developed countries".

Modi has pledged to invest billions of dollars to modernise the country's crumbling railway infrastructure, which is plagued by delays, and the bullet train was one of his key election promises ahead of a landslide victory in 2014. However, Abe has indicated Japan, is expected to sign as many as 10 memorandums of understandings. Railway is expecting a ridership of 40,000 people every day on 508 km long section by 2023, which is set to increase to 1.6 lakh every day by 2050. If the traffic projections fall short, so will the Indian government's ability to repay the interest and the principal, never mind the attractive terms of the loan from Japan. "As a part of cooperation agreement between India and Japan, Government of Japan will provide a soft loan of about Rs 88,000 crore at minuscule interest rate of 0.1 percent". Thailand and China are also jointly developing a multibillion-dollar high-speed railway line that will ultimately link Bangkok to southern China. Around 300 Indian Railway employees are now being trained in Japan and an additional 4,000 will be trained at a High Speed Rail Training Institute at Vadodara, which will be operational by 2020. The length of the rail corridor will be around 508 km and it will have 12 stations. "Relevant competent authorities between the two countries maintained communication and increasing speed of railway in the current projects", he said. The high-speed train will halt at all ten stations on the proposed high-speed corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, while the rapid high-speed train will halt only at major stations. The distance will be covered in 2 hours and 7 minutes if it stops at four stations namely Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai.

High-speed train manufacturers in Japan and Europe have been facing a challenging environment as Chinese firms - whose technology remains relatively cheap - have increasingly sold trains to cost-conscious countries across Asia and Africa.

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Of the 508-km stretch, 92 per cent of the route will be elevated; six per cent in the tunnel and the rest two per cent will be on the ground. This is close to what a flight ticket between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is. Thus, the fare structure of the bullet train is expected to range anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000, depending on their speed.

"The training centre will have a sample track fitted with the overhead electrical systems to enable testing of bullet trains that will run on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route", said Khare.

To make it an attractive proposition, therefore, Japan is providing billions of dollars in soft loans to finance the Mumbai-Ahmedabad venture.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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