The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has gotten a major push before this year comes to an end the Embassy of Japan in India shared some photos of the E5 Series Shinkansen bullet train. Indians can now have a look at the first pictures of the bullet train, which probably will be the India avatar.
On 18 December, the Embassy of Japan in India shared some photos of the E5 Series Shinkansen, which will be modified for use as rolling stock of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project. After the completion of this project, the distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be completed in just 2 h. The MAHSR, known as the Bullet Train Project, has been sanctioned with a target to be completed by 2023.
To recall, on 14 September 2017, Modi and his then Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe launched the country’s first bullet-train project, making India the first country to buy Japan’s iconic ‘Shinkansen’ bullet-train technology after Taiwan. Tokyo had agreed to give a loan of Rs 88,000 crore, about 80% of the project cost, at a minimal interest of 0.1% for 50 years.
The government has sanctioned the 508 km long MAHSR project. A special purpose vehicle namely National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) is executing it, with financial and technical assistance from the Government of Japan. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,08,000 crore.
India’s first bullet train will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, covering a distance of over 500 km. Of the total distance, 21 km will pass through tunnels, of which seven km will be under the sea. The bullet train will run at an average speed of 320 km per hour with a maximum speed of 350 km/h.
The bullet train project is Modi’s ambitious plan to modernize rail infrastructure. Kawasaki Heavy and India’s Bharat Heavy Electrics Ltd. will collaborate on the rolling stock, then Japanese Prime Minister Abe had said. The government hopes the high-speed rail project would spur manufacturing and employment growth. Besides an estimated 4,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs for operations, the project is also expected to create 20,000 construction jobs.
The ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project which Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said was akin to a “white elephant” has run into more problems in the state. Slow pace of land acquisitions, legal and environmental hurdles has caused the project to progress at snail’s pace while the work on it in neighbouring Gujarat is progressing rapidly.
Only 22% of land acquisition has been completed in Maharashtra so far with no contract being awarded yet on the 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor. Even the stretch connecting Thane to Virar, a 21-km tunnel, part of which is undersea, where no land acquisition is required, is stuck due to legal hurdles over chopping of mangrove forests to build it.
Out of the 508-km-long high-speed rail project, 348 km will be in Gujarat, 156 km in Maharashtra, and 4 km in Dadar & Nagar Haveli. Although the project was slated for completion by 2023, that looks like a pipe dream with the current pace of progress.