Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Bids Invited For Station At Anand, In Gujarat
The National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), the agency implementing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project, has floated a tender, inviting bids for a maintenance depot and an elevated station in Anand, in Gujarat. The corporation has also invited bids for the construction of about 69 per cent (348 kms) of the 508-km project, which is likely to be launched in 2023.
Part of the project are 21 kms of tunnels, five elevated stations and one depot at Surat. NHSRCL's latest bid also includes testing and commissioning of 90 kms of viaducts and bridges, a maintenance depot and an elevated station between Vadodara and Ahmedabad.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe on September 14, 2017. The bullet train is a prominent feature in countries like China, France, Germany, Japan, etc. and will now make its way to India. The first-of-its-kind railway system in India, this train will be based on the Shinkansen technology and will be developed in collaboration with Japan. Scheduled to be completed on August 15, 2022, which is the country's 75th year of Independence, the project will be developed at a total cost of 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion).
Meanwhile, the Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has said that the proposed bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will be made fully operational by 2023. Some sections of the high speed, 500-km route will, however, become operational in 2022 itself. The train corridor will not only ease commuting time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad but also give a boost to the economies of the two financial hubs. Let us look at finer details of the project:
The HSR (High-Speed Rail) corridor will span a length of 508 kilometres, of which 21 kilometres will cross through an underground tunnel and seven kilometres under the sea, connecting Thane and Virar. The area of land estimated for the project is around 825 hectares. The underwater tunnel is believed to offer a thrilling travel experience to commuters.
While the National High-Speed Rail Corporation will be the agency undertaking the project, Japan will be funding about 80 per cent of the cost. Abe's country will be providing India Rs 88,000 crore, for a period of 50 years. Indian Railways will sign a loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is a soft loan at 0.1 per cent annual interest, with 15 years' grace period.
- Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), drilling activities and social impact studies were being carried out by the Indian Railways. Rolling stock and related equipment viz. Signalling and Power System for the project will be imported from Japan.
- The Railways has formed the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV), with a paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore.
- An exclusive HSR Training Centre at Baroda spanning five hectares of land, will be set up, for training the railway staff in high-speed rail operations, at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore.
- The government sees the construction of an elevated line as a financially viable option and aims to save huge costs on land acquisition.
A total of 12 stations will be built along the stretch between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The proposed stops are the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. The Maharashtra state government has decided to provide land for the project, near the BKC for an underground railway station.
- High speed: The bullet trains will run at a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour and an operating speed of 320 kilometres per hour. The bullet train will cover the distance from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, in just two hours which otherwise is completed in seven hours by the Duronto Express or Shatabdi Express.
- Safety: The Japanese Railways have been rated as the best in the world. The Shinkansen technology is known for its efficiency, quality and safety. The technology transfer will prove to be a breakthrough in enhancing the safety of Indian railways. These high-speed trains are designed to be disaster resistant and cause minimum vibrations. They also possess world-class safety features including an earthquake detection system. The train-coaches will be fitted with sensors to monitor their functioning.
- Modern tracks: Shinkansen trains run on wide-gauge tracks with no sharp curves. They never cross other railway lines on the same level. This enables trains to run non-stop without having to wait for other trains to pass.
- Underwater corridor: The undersea stretch of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train corridor will start after the Thane Creek, and will be situated 70 metres below the sea level.
- Automatic train control: Trains built on the Shinkansen technology have a special speed control system (also called ATC) which enables prompt transmission of speed information and signals to the driver.
- Robust and eco-friendly design: The train will have 10 coaches with a capacity to accommodate 750 passengers. The bullet train is fuel-efficient and will release lesser amount of pollutants into the air. Additionally, these trains are built to bear a heavier weight.
- Affordable fare: The train will make around 70 trips per day. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has promised to keep the fares of the train service "affordable for all" and would be comparable to prices of Rajdhani Express AC-2 tier.