Modi-Abe Meet: All Questions About India's First 'Bullet Train' Answered

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will tomorrow lay the foundation stone for the country's first bullet train project connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

The project will be a big leap for the country's transport infrastructure and overburdened railways. "It shall also benefit the farmers for transportation of agricultural produce in a fast mode", Goyal added. With Indian Railways adopting such technologies, the bullet train was an endeavour to bring economic growth and prosperity in the country. However, Abe has indicated Japan, is expected to sign as many as 10 memorandums of understandings. 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. An interest rate of 0.1% over a 50-year term and repayment moratorium for the first 15 years, the funding from Japan for the High-Speed Rail, called Shinkansen in Japan, is nearly like a grant based on standard financial valuation calculations. In addition, 300 young officials of Indian Railways are being trained in Japan to give them exposure in high Speed Track Technology.

National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited has been founded by the Indian Ministry of Railways to implement the MAHSR. 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.

Other details of the bullet trains are still being worked out by the ministry of Railways, reports the publication.

The train will cover the 508-km-long distance between Ahmedabad and Mumbai in little more than two hours at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour. 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. If the train stops only at select stations, it will cover the distance in 2 hours and 7 minutes.

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

From the total 508-km stretch, 92 percent of the route will be elevated, 6 percent will pass through tunnels, including tunnels under the sea, and the remaining 2 percent will be ground-based.

There will be two types of bullet trains, with different speeds. Thus, the fares on the bullet train would be between Rs 3,000-5,000.

A total of 12 stations have been proposed for the Bullet Train route, including Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project is a key project of the NDA government that is expected to reduce the travel time between two cities by almost five hours. The facilities at this institute will be utilized to train about 4,000 staff in next three years, who will then be utilized for operation and maintenance ensuring that this work is through skilled people in India rather than foreign dependent.

  • Rogelio Becker