The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train service would be available every 20 minutes from the originating station at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, Achal Khare, the Managing Director of the National High Speed Railway Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), said on Sunday.
While three train services will run during peak hours, two train services would operate during non-peak hours.
The bullet train that would run at a speed of 320 kmph is expected to travel from Mumbai to Ahmedabad within two hours. At present, it takes seven hours by train and an hour by flight.
According to senior railway officials, the segment continues to remain in high demand with the Western Railway operating at least 20 trains daily. Every day as many as 10 flights are planned between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to cater to the passenger demand.
“There would be 35 pairs of bullet train services, which means the trains will make 70 trips in a day between the two cities. During the peak hour (7am to 10 am in the morning and 5pm to 9 pm in evening) we plan to run services of three trains, and two trains during off-peak hours between the cities. This would be on a daily basis,” Khare said.
There are 12 stations on the bullet train route —- BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Baroda, Anand, Sabarmati and Ahmedabad. The NHSRCL would run both fast trains that would halt at Mumbai, Surat, Baroda and Ahmedabad and slow trains which would stop at all 12 stations.
“We are in the process to buy 24 bullet train rakes of E-5 series running on Shinkansen technology from the Japanese government. To ensure there are enough train rakes, we would keep 20 trains in operation and the rest on standby for emergencies. This would ensure a free flow of services on the route,” Khare added.
The Mumbai to Ahmedabad sees passenger traffic mainly has entrepreneurs and textile and diamond merchants. The number of annual passengers on the route is expected to increase to 3 lakh from 1.5 lakh people at present. Khare said the bullet train would also attract air travellers who spend roughly three hours on average to travel to and from the airport in addition to flight time.
“According to our study, there are as many as 4,700 passengers who travel daily by flights between Mumbai and Amhedabad. While 5,000 passengers take trains every day, around 15,000 people use cars to commute. We plan to carry at least 40,000 passengers on a daily basis between the two cities once the bullet train is in operation,” Khare added.
While the bullet train would have ten coaches consisting of one executive coach and nine general coaches by 2023, the total number of coaches would increase to 15 by 2033 to handle additional passenger traffic. There would be 750 seats in a ten-coach train and 1,250 seats in a fifteen-coach train.
“There would be both general and reserved coaches on the train that would allow passengers to travel unreserved. Baggage checking facility would be available at stations which would not take much time. While passenger luggage would be parked in the luggage carrying space near the coach, small bags and handbags could be kept in overhead compartments,” Khare added.
For the first time, an Indian train will have washrooms for men and women. The bullet train would have seven toilets for men and women and an exclusive women’s toilet. Folding beds, rotating chairs would be among the other features.
The Maharashtra Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Railways for handing over land for the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) station building in February. “This station will be underground at about 25-metre depth and will be integrated with International Finance service Center (IFSC) building proposed above it. We plan to star work on constructing the Bandra Kurla Complex Terminus (BKC) by the end of this year. Trials of the coaches would begin by 2021 on the route.The train would be run by one driver and we would have conductors to check tickets of passengers. There would be on board signalling system for drivers,” Khare added.