Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation stone in Ahmedabad for the country’s first ₹1,10,000 crore, 508 km high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ambitious project is being implemented with nearly 90% financial support and technology from Japan.
To be built on elevated corridor with a seven-km undersea tunnel in Mumbai, the project will be based on the famed Japanese Shinkansen high-speed railway system with a record of zero casualties in its 50 years of operation.
‘Symbol of New India’
The Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious deadline to complete the project on August 15, 2022 when India marks 75 years of Independence. The project will be executed through a special purpose vehicle, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd.
“The bullet train project will take care of high speed, high growth and high-end technology,” Mr. Modi said, describing it as “a symbol of New India” that his government wants to build by 2022.
According to him, the bullet train project will be “humanity friendly” and “eco-friendly” and will usher in the next generation economic growth along the corridor between the two cities.
However, launching the ground breaking ceremony of the project just two months before the Gujarat Assembly polls has invited sharp reaction from the opposition Congress.
“Its good to have bullet train but lets not forget that the Ahmedabad is yet to have a metro train despite the Gujarat government talking about it for 10 years. And also under his government, railways have seen highest number of accidents and daily there is an incident of train derailment in the country,” said Congress leader and in charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot.
- * Length 508 kms double line. Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra 155.642 KMs and Gujarat 350.530 KMs and one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2 KMs. Longest 21 KMs tunnel with 7 KMs under sea at Thane Creek.
- * 12 stations: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati. Except Mumbai, all other stations will be elevated.
- * Maximum Design Speed - 350 kmph while Maximum Operating speed of 320 kmph.
- * Journey time: - 2.07 hrs (limited stops), 2.58 hrs (stopping at all stations).
- * Maintenance of Trains – Sabarmati (Depot & Workshop) and Thane Depot.
- * Operations Control Centre (OCC) at Sabarmati. High Speed Railway training Centre which was earlier planned at Gandhinagar will now be located at Vadodara.
Special, strategic ties
“Japan has been a friend of India and this friendship has stood the test of time,” Mr. Modi said, giving credit for speedy implementation of the project to his “personal friend” Mr. Abe.
In his address, Mr. Abe said he hopes to enjoy the beauty of India through the windows of the bullet train in next few years. “I would like to state that India-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global and Japan is committed to support ‘Make in India’ and Japanese industries were working with the country to boost the manufacturing base in India,” he said.
India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd will tie up for manufacturing the rolling stock for bullet train project, Mr. Abe said. Stressing on the strong Indo-Japan partnership, Mr. Abe said, “A strong India is in favour of Japan and a strong Japan is in favour of India.”
As part of the project, a training centre in Vadodara is being set up to train over 4,000 employees who will be responsible for execution, operation and maintenance of the bullet train. The project will cover 12 stations — Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati — and once operational, the train is expected to service 1.5 crore travellers a year.