Bullet train deadline advanced to 2022: Piyush Goyal
New Delhi: New railway minister Piyush Goyal on Monday set an ambitious target of advancing the deadline for building India’s first bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai by a year.
Goyal said the railway ministry and its Japanese counterpart have decided to advance the high-speed rail project, popularly known as the Bullet train, from 2023 to 2022. He said, “BJP in its election manifesto on Page 33 had talked about diamond quadrilateral of high-speed trains and the first Bullet train with Japanese collaboration will lay the foundation stone for the project.”
On 14 September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for the project at Sabarmati station, which would be also the first terminal for the project.
The 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project that would be built on standard gauge will cost around Rs 1.1 trillion, out of which Japan is giving a soft loan of around Rs 88,000 crore at an interest rate of 0.1%, to be repaid in 50 years with a 15-year grace period.
Under the project, there would be 12 stations between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. These are: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. The train speed is likely to be around 320 km per hour.
Outlining the road-map for the Bullet train, Goyal said that once India adopts the train technology, it could start production of low-cost high-speed trains and become an exporter. “We will innovate with the Bullet train technology,” said Goyal. He added that he is aware that many Indians are critical of this project but that the Modi government was committed to it and ready to take India to the ranks of developed economies by adopting the latest technologies.
As per the plan, 508-km route will have 468 km of track elevated, 27 km in tunnels and the remaining 13 km on flat the ground. The initial proposal is for a 10-car train with a capacity to carry 750 passengers which would in the future be taken up to 16 cars with seating for 1,250 people.