NEW DELHI: On the lines of undersea high speed train Eurostar connecting London-Paris, India’s first bullet train between Mumbai-Ahmedabad will travel a stretch of 21 kilometer under the sea near Thane creek.
A meeting of the technical committee comprising of senior officials from railways and Japan was held Tuesday to chart out modalities like track design, embankments, tunneling and bridges on the 508 kilometer distance between the two cities where bullet is expected to run at a speed of 320-350 kmph.
According to JICA, the track is likely to be elevated but a stretch after Thane creek towards Virar will be under sea.
Railway is expected to close loan negotiations with Japan by end of this year and work is expected to begin in 2018 to ensure its commissioning in time by 2023.
“In last three months we have had six interactions with Japanese side and on May 9 inter-ministerial meeting is scheduled while the joint committee headed by NITI Aayog chief Arvind Panagariya is expected to meet on May 16-17 to discuss ways to ensure the first project meets the deadline,” said a senior railway official.
Japan has offered an assistance of over Rs 79,000 crores for a period of 50 years with a 15 years moratorium with the interest rate is 0.1 percent. The total cost of the project has been pegged at Rs 97,636 crores and to be implemented in a period of seven years.
“There are lot of work that needs to be done like we have to develop our own standards for high speed rail network and those needs to be vetted. We should also have a regulatory framework for the whole system. These are being jointly worked upon. Besides, Japanese side needs to complete certain formalities like preparation of documents and hiring of consultants for the completion of loan process,” the official added.
It has been agreed upon to adopt Shinkansen Technology for Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR Project. The cooperation of Japan on this project will also be fixed on transfer of technology and ‘Make in India’. Japan will assist India in training of personnel for HSR.
Railways has formed a National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV), with a paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore for the project. Railways has already allotted Rs 200 crore for the SPV and Maharashtra and Gujarat will have equity of 25 percent each, while the Railways will have 50 per cent in the SPV.
A final feasibility report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) suggested that fare of the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad may be somewhere around one and half times more than the fare of the first AC of Rajdhani Express and it would be around Rs 2,800. It is also estimated that by 2023 around 40,000 passengers are expected to avail this service everyday making it financially viable service.