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Need for speed: Lowdown on India’s bullet train project

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 14 inaugurated India's first bullet train project - a $19 billion line in the home state of Indian leader Narendra Modi intended to revitalise the country's vast but dilapidated network.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 14 inaugurated India's first bullet train project - a $19 billion line in the home state of Indian leader Narendra Modi intended to revitalise the country's vast but dilapidated network.  

The government blueprint envisages that by 2050, 1.6 lakh commuters will be travelling by high-speed trains on a daily basis.

India's first bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai was formally launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, on Thursday. The high-speed rail network is likely to be fully operational, and serviceable to the public by August 15, 2022, commemorating 75 years since India gained independence.

Need for speed: Lowdown on India’s bullet train project
 

A 21-km-long tunnel will be built between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, of which 7km will be under water. Land acquisition for the mammoth undertaking will in itself be a Herculean task. Initial estimates peg the land needed for the project at 825 hectares. About 92% of the route will be elevated, 6% will go through tunnels, and only 2% would be on the ground.

The bullet train will run at a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour. It is expected to cover the 508km stretch in a little more than two, cutting short the present commuting time of around 8 hours. En route, the train will have 12 stops of 165-second duration. The project is expected to cost Rs.1.1 lakh crore according to tentative estimates.

 

However, the government coffers will not be under immediate strain to meet India's tryst with high-speed mobility. Over 80% of the total cost (Rs. 88,000 crore) will be funded by the Japanese, in the form of a 'friendly' loan which will be sanctioned at 0.1% interest over a 50-year-repayment cycle. An additional clause granting a grace period of 15 years has also been included.

Initially, the train will have 10 coaches with a seating capacity of 750 passengers. Later, it is proposed to have 16 coaches with a seating capacity of 1,250 passengers. The train is slated to have two categories of seats - executive and economy - with prices comparable with the base AC 2-tier fare of the Rajdhani.

Need for speed: Lowdown on India’s bullet train project
 

The government blueprint envisages that by 2050, 1.6 lakh commuters will be travelling by high-speed trains on a daily basis. Moreover, the bullet train service is expected to service 1.5 crore travellers every year.

India's rail network, though frequently marred by a spate of accidents, is the oldest in Asia, and the fourth longest in the world.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 9:00:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/need-for-speed-lowdown-on-indias-bullet-train-project/article19690026.ece

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