Even as officials are talking about how India’s first bullet train, which will connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is likely to transform inter-city travel, the question on one’s mind is, what’s in it for Mumbaikars? Aanchal Khare, managing director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, the company spearheading the project, said, the train will not only shrink travel time between locations in Mumbai by half, there are also plans to connect the train with the existing metro lines.
The 12 stations proposed between Mumbai and Sabarmati, include Mumbai BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Vadodara, Anand/Nadia, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. While the end-to-end cost between Mumbai and Sabarmati is expected to go up to Rs 3,000, travelling between BKC and other local stations in Mumbai could cost anywhere from Rs 250 to Rs 750.
The trains will run at an operating speed of 320 kmph, between 6 am and midnight. As per the proposed timetable, travelling between BKC and Thane will take 10 minutes, while Virar will be covered in 24 minutes flat.
“The tendering and ground work will begin by June 2018 and the line should be up and running in the next four years. We are confident, it [the bullet train] will revolutionse rail transport,” Khare said.
How exactly will the project help Mumbaikars?
The bullet train will not only cater to those travelling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, but also commuters within the city. We have planned to link Metro lines to the bullet train station in BKC through walkways and check-ins. The fares will be affordable, when compared to other modes of transit. Most importantly, what we are selling here is speed.
What are the broad features of the train?
It will be similar to the latest models running in Japan. However, you can expect modifications since it will be customised to India’s temperature and needs. For example, in Japan, the train runs in snow, while here, it will have to face heat and rain. The motors will have filters. We have also worked on earthquake and seismic activity protection for the train. The Japanese high-speed rail or the bullet train that we are building has a proven record of 54 years with not a single accident since 1964.
Tell us about the various compartments that will be available.
The compartments will be split into two classes — the general and executive class. All the cars will have seating arrangements. Initially, we will run about 35, 10-car trains with a capacity of 750 passengers each.
By 2033, as passenger footfall increases, the length of the train will be increased to 16 cars with a capacity of 1,250 passengers.
What after Mumbai-Ahmedabad?
This stretch will be a template for future projects. But, plans are yet to be finalised.