India, Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR Corridor Foundation Stone to be Laid

On 14 September 2017 India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Sabarmati railway station in Ahmedabad, where they will lay the foundation stone of the Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor.

The 508 km long HSR line will connect Mumbai, the capital city of the State of Maharashtra, with Ahmedabad, the second most populous metropolitan area in India, located in the State of Gujarat. The railway will run along the Arabian Sea coast with stops in Surat and Vadodara, respectively the second and third largest cities in the State of Gujarat.

Twelve stations have been proposed for the line: Mumbai Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. Potentially, the line can be extended in the future from Ahmedabad to New Delhi and from Thane towards Pune and Bengaluru.

A total of 468 km of the track will be elevated, and a 27 km tunnel between Thane and Virar will allow the trains to pass under the sea, as per JICA’s Detailed Project Report (DPR).

The new railway is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours. Services will run at an operating speed of 320 km/h, with the maximum speed being 350 km/h. The fastest train currently operating between Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad Junction is the Duronto Express, which takes approximately 7 hours running non-stop between the two cities at a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

The governments of India and Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 12 December 2015 to implement the project. 81% of the project cost will be funded by Japan with a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1% annual interest, with a 15 year moratorium. Rolling stock and other equipment like signaling and the power system will be imported from Japan, as per the loan agreement.

Japanese E5 Series Shinkansen trainsets will be purchased, with technology transfer to support the Indian government’s “Make in India” policy. Japanese companies will also provide staff training.

The E5 series, built by a consortium of Hitachi Rail and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, is operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in 10 car trainsets on the Tōhoku Shinkansen line and on the Hokkaido Shinkansen line.

The train car body is built in an aluminum alloy that makes it lighter and allows it to travel up to a maximum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph). The train is 253 meters long, weighs 453.5 tons and is powered by overhead catenary. The rail track gauge is 1,435 mm.

The ten cars can carry a total of 731 seated passengers, in three distinct classes: Ordinary Class (658 seats), Green Car (55 seats) and Gran Class (18 seats).

According to the Ministry official the Indian configuration will have 698 Standard Class seats and 55 Business Class seats, effectively doing away with the Japanese Gran Class.

A First Look at India’s New High Speed Trains

The target completion date is December 2023, though an earlier deadline of 2022 may be sought by the Indian government which is in fact aiming to launch services on August 15, 2022 for India’s celebrations for 75 years of independence.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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