Construction for bullet train corridor to begin in January 2019

New Delhi: Construction for India’s first high-speed train project, the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor, will begin in January 2019, said officials.

They said that land acquisition will be completed by the end of this year and the mega project, costing Rs 1.08 lakh crore, will be completed by the end of 2022.

Indian Railways will acquire around 1,400 hectares of linear land in Maharashtra and Gujarat at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore, said Achal Khare, managing director, National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHRC), the implementing agency for the project, which will also be responsible for operating trains on high-speed corridors.

The government has started getting funds from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the land acquisition has started in Mumbai.

JICA is providing a soft loan of Rs 88,000 crore for the project for a period of 50 years at an annual interest rate of 0.1%.

Once the bullet train project is operational, the journey between the two cities will be completed in two hours, instead of eight-nine hours at present.

To begin with, the bullet trains will operate 35 trips each way between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and will carry around 700 passengers on each trip. A one-way ticket is likely to cost around Rs 3,000.

The train will also have a special business class category. “We want to keep the prices lower than the airlines. Also, for people in Mumbai region this train would be a boon as they will be able to reach from Thane to Bandra Kurla Terminal within 15 minutes by paying around Rs 250, which will be the minimum ticket price,” Khare said.

Initially, the NHRC will operate 24 train sets with 10 coaches each, and the number will be increased later as per the demand.

Khare said that the average operational expenses for the project including the fuel and manpower cost will be about Rs 1,000 crore. “We are expecting a return of around 4% on the operational cost,” he said.economictimes

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