Japanese Consort eyeing Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project

The Japanese consortium led by East Japan Railway Company is keen to take the contract for building the 500 km railway high speed network linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Image: wikimedia.org

Image: wikimedia.org

The just concluded 21st Indian Engineering & Technology Fair (IETF) 2015 organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) witnessed a comprehensive presentation made by Japan about it’s capabilities and appropriateness of its “Shinkansen”   bullet train technology to India. Incidentally, Japan was the partner country for the exhibition.

The East India Rail Company, which is also known as JR-East had set up the prototype of its high speed trains and pitched how its designs, engines, interiors and most importantly safety standards are the best in the world.

Importantly, the Indian and the Japanese governments initiated a joint feasibility study in late 2013 for the project and the final report is expected to be released by mid-2015. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JETRO) is also participating in the feasibility study. Incidentally, Japan is one of the largest players in the high speed train space in the world, competing for the project.

The estimated cost of railway linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad is between US$ 12.2 billion to US$ 13.9 billion. There will be 12 stations to be built along the route The high speed train, which can accelerate into a speed of 320 kph can cover the distance in two and a half hours from the present eight hours.

For construction to start in 2017, India has to work out the necessary details, including fund raising, land acquisition etc.. Japanese official development agency -JICA- may propose to help / support raise required funding for the project.

Importantly, there are a few areas that need to be sorted out before grounding the project. Important among them is unbundling the project. India seems to be keen about manufacturing the rolling stocks indigenously as a part of its “Make in India” program and leaving the laying of track, safety measures, signaling etc. to the foreign partners. Importantly, while creating track for the railways, there may be the need for tunneling in rough and complex terrains, which needs higher degree of precision and expertise.

India proposes to have, in stages, around 4500 kms of high speed train tracks in the country. Most prestigious among them is the diamond quadrilateral corridors connecting four metros-Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai and Kolkata.   Apart from this, there will be nine corridors which will be running semi-high speed trains, with speed ranging from 160kmh to 200 kmh. These routes will be eventually converted into bullet tracks.

Importantly, the East Japan Rail Company is doing a lot of home work in popularizing its bullet technology across the world.

At the IETF 2015, it has sensitized about the forthcoming 9th World Congress on High Speed Rail to be held on 7-10 July 2015 in Tokyo. It is being organized jointly with UIC World Congress for the first time in Japan. The Congress is being held after a lapse of several years. The Conference cum exhibition will be a forum for showcasing the Shinkansen to over 1000 delegates who are expected to assemble from all over the world. The Japanese expect a high powered delegation from India to visit Tokyo for the show.