Modi, Japanese PM to lay bullet train foundation in Ahmedabad next month

Modi, Japanese PM to lay bullet train foundation in Ahmedabad next month

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail (MAHSR) will start ferrying passengers from 2023, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train in the Gujarat city next month during the latter’s visit to India. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail (MAHSR), popularly known as the bullet train, will start ferrying passengers from 2023, railway minister Suresh Prabhu told Lok Sabha during Question Hour yesterday.

India and Japan had signed a memorandum of cooperation for the project in late 2015. The project is part of Modi’s key promises made ahead of the general elections in 2014. During a visit to Japan in November 2016, Modi and Abe had taken a ride on the Shinkashen bullet train from Tokyo to Kobe. The same technology will be used on the MAHSR.

“The entire funding for this, or more or less 85% of this will come from the Japanese and that too on very soft terms. This is the best soft term under the ODA, Overseas Development Assistance, Japan has ever offered to anyone in the world,” Prabhu said.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 1 lakh crore. The train will run at a top speed of 350 km per hour, the minister told the house in response to a query on training of Indian railway engineers in Japan. “4000 Indian officials will be trained by Japan of which 137 have already been trained,” he said.

A training school is also being set up in Ahmedabad, the government said. The high speed rail project will ultimately be implemented in seven sectors for which studies are at various stages of completion. These include the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Chennai, Mumbai-Chennai, Kolkata-Chennai, Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore and Mumbai routes. Other than this, the government has identified more sectors for the semi-high speed train projects.

Responding to concerns of members over the safety aspects of the high speed trains, Prabhu said the technology is being provided by Japan which is a pioneer in the sector.

“The entire corridor is elevated, fully fenced and provided with fully integrated network signalling,” he said.


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