India's bullet train project launched by PM Modi and Japan's Shinzo Abe: 11 Points
Modi government has heralded the bullet train as the 'train for India's future'.
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The Indian Railways moved a step closer in its quest to give the country's vast railroad network a modern face, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the much-hyped Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed bullet train project.
The ambitious high-speed rail project – a pre-poll promise by PM Modi – will come at an estimated cost of about Rs 1.08 lakh crore and is expected to be completed by 2022.
The bullet train project is being heralded by the government as the "train for India's future" and is expected to not only cut down travel time between the two cities but also spur economic growth by creating new jobs.
Here's all you need to know:
The ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed bullet train project will cost an estimated Rs 1.08 lakh crore.
Number of trains
There will be a total of 35 high-speed bullet trains that will run on the route. The project is expected to be completed by 2022.
Project completion by 2022
Japanese team that is part of the project has estimated that the first train would roll out by 2023, but railways minister Piyush Goyal has said PM Modi wants the train to start on 15 August 2022 - when India completes 75 years of Independence.
Initially, the high-speed bullet train will have 10 coaches with a total seating capacity of 750 passengers, which will gradually be increased to 16 coaches with a seating capacity of 1250 passengers. Railway expects roughly 1.6 crore people to travel by the bullet train annually. However, it expects the number to shoot up by 2050 to an estimated 1.6 crore on a daily basis.
The bullet trains are expected to have two categories of seats – executive and economy – and the ticket fares will be comparable to that of AC-2 tier fare for Rajdhani Express.
Speed of the bullet train
The bullet trains between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will run between a 508 km high-speed corridor. The trains will have a maximum speed of 350km/hour but are expected to run at an operational speed of 320km/hour. The bullet train will cover the distance between the two cities in 2 hours and 58 minutes if it halts at all 10 stations. However, the travel time will come down by almost 30 per cent to barely two hours if the train halts at only four stations.
Number of stations
The corridor will include 10 stations – Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Sabarmati. The route will include a 21-km-long tunnel dug between Boisar and Bandra Kurla Compex (BKC) in Mumbai, and a 7km stretch running submerged under the sea.
Indo-Japan joint venture
The bullet train project is being carried forward as a joint venture between the Indian Railways and Japanese firm Shinkansen Technology. Japan has also given India a soft loan of Rs 88,000. The first portion of the loan – Rs 6,000 crore – will be released to India immediately, but the remaining portions will be released by Japan only after land acquisition. The loan is being provided at a minuscule interest rate of 0.1 per cent, repayment of which will begin only after 15 years.
Training Institute at Vadodra
PM Modi and his counterpart also laid the foundation for an institute that will come up at Vadodara where around 4,000 people will be trained for the bullet train project.
India's dream project
The project is also an attempt by the Modi government to showcase India's growing capabilities to build high-tech projects under his leadership. Speaking about the project, PM Modi said that "with the bullet train project India has taken an important step towards fulfilling a big dream." He further went on to thank Japan for being a "strong friend" and for helping India to realise its dream of a high-speed bullet train.
Calling it a historic day, both leaders remarked that the project symbolises the rapidly growing Indo-Japanese friendship.