Bullet Trains in India
Bullet train, the project initiated by the Indian government, is all set to run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The project primarily was for the western part of India, but, now, Maharashtra too is an integral part of the same. The project shall begin in 2018 and is expected to be over by 2023.
The proposal for the same was made in the year 2010, as a part of the budget released for the financial year 209-10. The distance covered, as per the original plan, under the project is 650 kms.
- The original plan, the train would originate from Pune, via Mumbai it will go to Ahmedabad. At that time, Mumbai had to be brought in the route, as it needed working out.
- The train was then planned to run at a speed of 350kms/hr. The stations were 32 in total and proposal had Bangalore as a station as well.
India- France- Japan
An agreement has been signed by the French organization SNCF (French National Railways), for seeking technical help for the project. The assistance has been taken as the ghat section between Pune and Mumbai will escalate the budget. One of the authorities has clearly stated that the proposed plan is for western India and Maharashtra is only a part of it. This was the main reason why Government of Maharashtra was not really excited or happy about it.
India and Japan came together to execute the project and this was given a green signal in the year 2013. This happened when Ex-PM-Dr.Manmohan Singh and Japanese PM – Shinzo Abe met on 29th May, 2013. The two nations will be financing the project together.
The primary reason behind involving Japanese in the whole thing is chalking out of feasibility report. The cost has been shared by India and Japan both. The report, as the information released by the ministry, had to be over within 18 months (must have had been by now). This was proposed to be complete by July 2015. Research had below mentioned aspects under consideration:-
- Traffic forecasting
- Alignment surveys
- Comparative study of high speed railway technology and the systems
- Land acquisition
While Japanese worked on the feasibility, French looked after the business operations. Teams work in reality.
JICA officially visited the site two years back in 2014. The details were discussed and the pre-selected sites were observed closely by the Japanese team. In January, 2014, numerous meeting were held between Japanese team and the Indian Railways. Back then, 11 stations were proposed. Out of these, 7 were to be in Maharashtra. The entire project is focused towards one thing- Time saving. Once on the block, commuters will be able to cover a distance of 534 kms in just 2 hours.
Towards the end of 2015 i.e. in December, the Japan and India signed an agreement/MOU. This is the result of ‘Make In India’ project initiated by PM Narendra Modi. Maharashra and Gujarat Governments have been real sport for bullet train.
Recently on January 9, 2017, A summit was organized in Gujarat. This summit had vivid participation by the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHRC). The NHRC agreed to give Rs. 67000 crores for the project. The Gujarat government has agreed to bear 25% of the cost of the entire project. It will also provide full support, be it land or other assistance, for the execution of the project.
Undersea Bullet Train
Work on India’s first underwater train has already begun. As per the reports, the distance to be covered underwater, as of now, is only 7 kms. The construction for the same is expected to begin in 2018.
Just the way Palm Island in Dubai was made, the process is somewhat similar to it. The soil conditions, underwater, are to be analyzed, before commencement of actual project. The samples have been taken, 70 meter deep into the sea. The tests are on in the respective labs. The team of geo-technical and geo-physical department is on it and working diligently.
Costs and inspiration for underwater tunnel
The total cost of the route coming out to be is Rs.97.6 billion. Of all the expenses worked out, 80% of it has been taken from Japan, as loan. India will replicate the system now in practice in Tokyo and Osaka. The cost worked out is inclusive of the raised cost (may happen), interest charged and the import duties applied.
As of today, it takes about 7 hours to commute between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The proposed train will make it only 2 hours to do so. The corridor shall be complete by 2023 (as per the reports released by the ministry of railways). The project will commence in 2018.
Japanese Shinkansen Bullet train, the fastest train in Japan, is primarily inspiration behind initiation of this project. Some time back, PM Narendra Modi was captured travelling in the train, with Japanese PM. In Japan, this train has been operating since 1964. It is result of efforts put in by 5 companies. Underwater tunnel, proposed in India, is also inspired by Japanese underwater train system.
The train will have 10-16 coaches. Each train will be able to carry 1300 passengers approximately. Though the proposed speed is 350km/hr, but, real speed would be 320km/hr. Distance of 508 kilometers will be covered in 2 hours 7 minutes.
Fares worked out are Rs. 3000/per person. This is 1.5 times of what passengers usually pay for the first class AC ticket while travelling by Mumbai-Ahmedabad Duronto express. The fare of the Duronto express currently is Rs. 2000 per person.The total number of stations is 11. They are Mumbai, Thane, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Ahmedabad.
India is indeed one of the fastest growing economies of the world. First came Metro and today there is Bullet train under progress. With due initiatives taken by the government, for instance, Make in India and Making India Digital, we are indeed on a progressive path to sail at.