Kawasaki or Hitachi: Who Will Manufacture Bullet Trains for India?

India will buy 18 bullet trains from Japan of worth Rs. 7,000 crore. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was instrumental in initiating the Bullet Train Project in India and Japan was more than willing to partner. As per reports, Japanese train manufacturers like Kawasaki and Hitachi may set up facilities in the country for the bullet train project.

As part of the government’s plan to launch country’s first high-speed rail corridor by 2022, India will buy 18 bullet train sets worth Rs 7,000 crore from Japan. The deal will include a pledge to transfer technology for local production, The Economic Times reported.

The 508-km high-speed train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be operational by 2022. The bullet trains are expected to run at a speed of 350 km per hour covering the stretch in about two hours. In comparison, trains plying on the route take over 7 hours to travel the distance whereas flights take an hour.

“We’ll be getting 18 Shinkansen train sets from Japan,” an official told the daily, adding, “Each train will have 10 coaches and would be able to cruise at the speed of 350 km per hour.”

The report added that Japanese train makers will participate in a tender that will be floated soon to obtain the high-speed trains. The imported trains will have automatic protection systems to assure safety, it said.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways will also begin the process of setting up a bullet train assembling units in India on a public-private participation (PPP) basis. Japanese train manufacturers like Kawasaki and Hitachi may set up facilities in the country, the report quoted an official as saying.

“We’ll be inviting bids to set up an assembling plant here in India as well under the Make in India programme,” the official said.

Indian Railways which had set December 2018 as the deadline for acquiring land, is expected to start construction work in January 2019.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is expected to be used by 18,000 passengers daily, with fares between the two cities expected to be around Rs 3,000 in economy class. According to a study conducted by IIM Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train will need to make 100 trips daily and carry 88,000-118,000 passengers per day to be financially viable.

National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) will be accountable for executing the project of the high-speed train corridor. The 12 proposed stations along the route will include Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Baroda, Anand, Sabarmati and Ahmedabad.

NHSRCL is also planning to have two distinct schedules for the bullet trains. The faster route will stop at fewer intermediary stations, which will include Surat and Vadodara, before reaching Ahmedabad, while the other will halt at all stations.

The cost of Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail Project is estimated to be Rs 1,10,000 crore, almost equal to the total capital outlay of Indian Railways in 2017. However, Japan had agreed to offer a soft loan worth Rs 88,000 crore at 0.1 per cent for the ambitious project.

Read More at EurAsian Times