Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for India’s first ever High-Speed Rail (HSR) network, dubbed as the bullet train project. Once the bullet train starts operating, the superfast trains operating in India today won’t seem ‘superfast’ anymore. Before coming to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised a Diamond Quadrilateral Project that would connect Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai via HSR network. The project was approved expeditiously by the Centre and endorsed by former president Pranab Mukherjee as well.
What is the India’s Bullet Train project?
The Bullet Train is a High-Speed Rail Network where trains will operate at a top speed of around 320 km per hour. The first section of the network will connect the 508-km route between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The track will move towards Delhi when the extension project kicks in.
When will it start construction?
The project was sanctioned for feasibility studying all the way back in 2009-10. The project is currently undergoing the soil testing stage. Both PMs are expected to lay the foundation stone of the project in September in Ahmedabad. The construction is expected to start by 2018 and the schedule for the launch of the first section’s operations is set for 2023.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad section is said to cost the Railways $15 billion. An 81% Japanese investment by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the form of the long term low-interest loan will drive the construction of the project. The initial detailed project report (DPR) was prepared by the Japanese group of experts that is assisting the Indian Railways in the construction of the project.
What is the plan to avoid delays?
To save time in land acquisitions, legal hurdles and other such delays, a major section of the link is proposed to be of elevated nature. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) released a Performance Audit on Status of Ongoing Projects Union Government, Railways in 2015. It showed that “Delay in the completion of projects resulted in cost overrun of Rs 1.07 lakh crore and throw-forward of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in respect of 442 ongoing projects.”
How will the bullet train save the travel time?
On an average, the journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai takes around 7 hours in the express trains of the Indian Railways. The new bullet train will cut down the travel time of the journey to around two hours. The corridor will run along the surface, on an elevated track and even a 7-km undersea tunnel between Mumbai and Thane section is part of the proposed plan.
Who will construct the corridor?
The Railways has set aside 450 km of the corridor’s length for Indian contractors while 52 km will be constructed by Japanese companies. Since the technology for the construction of the undersea link is not available with Indian companies, it will also be put open for private international contractors.
What are the features of the Bullet train?
The Japanese E5 Series Shinkansen train will serve as the bullet train in India. The 10 car variant will have a total seating capacity of 731 passengers–698 seats for standard class passengers and another 55 for Business class. The train will have a top speed of 320 km per hour. During its testing stages in Japan, the train reached the speed 400 km/hr. However, the speed was capped to 320 km/hr for passenger and environmental comfort.
The train has an extended long nose stretching up to 15 metres. This prevents damaging tunnel boom when the train exits from a tunnel at high speeds that occur due to the extremely loud noise produced due to uneven air pressure. It’s soft full bogie covering with cars along with the below mounted sound absorbing materials keep the highly noise free.
The full active suspension in the train massively cuts the vibrations while travelling at high speeds and the centrifugal force is nullified with the help of a body tilting system. The two systems are integrated and hence detect and regulate lateral and tilt movement of the train and hence check the shaking of the train on curves too.
In the Japanese variants, the standard interiors came with luxury leather seating and wool carpeting. It has dark wood and metallic elements inside as well. The stock seats come with electronic power recline and the adjustable reading lamps. It also boasts built-in seat reading lamps. A foldable dining table, as well as a cocktail tray, can be pulled out from underneath the armrests. The trains are designed as disabled friendly.