The first bullet train in India is being planned to run from Surat to Billimora in Gujarat in 2022 before the complete targetted commissioning of the 508-km corridor in 2023. The train will complete the 50-km stretch in about 15 minutes.
The NDA government wanted to run the first bullet train by August 15, 2022 to coincide with 75 years of Independence. Sources in the National High-Speed Rail Corporation said the section has been selected because of the straight alignment and because from a construction point of view it is possible to start it before the other stretches.
But how to run the sophisticated Japanese technology in India with the same efficiency the Shinkansen is known for?
Come February, those working in the bullet train project will start receiving training in India from the Japanese to learn the ropes.
Construction of the High-Speed Training Institute, an integral part of the bullet train project, is underway in Vadodara. The Rs 600 cr project of building the institute is crucial because as per the agreement with the Japanese, continuous training of manpower in the technical efficiency of the Shinkansen is essential to run the system smoothly. By 2023, around 3,500 manpower needs to be ready with adequate skills so that the system can roll out.
Already around 1,500 Indian officials have received short-term training from Japan and about 60 have received long-term on-the-job training there. Another batch for long-term training will leave in October. The training institute with facilities for 334 beds and 166 rooms also has a 50-meter track of the bullet train for simulation.
In February 2019, two floors of the five-storey hostel building will be ready. Currently, the campus site is full of around 100 labourers and heavy engineering equipment working to meet the deadline. “We’re on schedule and start from two floors in February,” said Pradeep Ahirkar, Chief Project Manager (Vadodara), NHSRCL.
Eventually, the five-hectare campus in the heart of Vadodara, will be commissioned by 2020. Running at 320km per hour, the Shinkansen is known for zero accident in its five decades of operations. It also issues apologies and delay certificates in the case of rare loss of punctuality.