India is planning to buy 18 bullet trains from Japan for about Rs 7,000 crore in a deal which includes transfer technology for local production, reported The Economic Times.
“We’ll be getting 18 Shinkansen train sets from Japan,” an official told the paper adding that each train will have 10 coaches and would be able to cruise at the speed of 350 km per hour.
The government will soon float a tender to procure high-speed trains in which Japanese manufacturers will participate to set up bullet trains assembly units in India in line with designs similar to that of Japan Railways.
Japanese bullet trains are considered to be the safest in the world and those imported will have automatic protection systems to ensure safety, the official added.
Simultaneously, Indian Railways will start working towards setting up a bullet train assembling facility in India on a public-private participation (PPP) basis.
“We’ll be inviting bids to set up an assembling plant here in India as well under the Make in India programme,” the official told the paper, adding that Japanese train technology companies such as Kawasaki and Hitachi may set up facilities in the country.
The move comes as India is working on its first bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which is likely to commence by the end of 2022. The 508-km high-speed train corridor, being built with the assistance of Japan, will reduce the travel time between the two cities to about 3 hours.
The railways require around 825 hectares of land for the project as 92 percent of the route will be elevated, six percent would go through tunnels and only the remaining two percent would be on the ground.
Indian Railways hopes to acquire the required land for the bullet train project before the December 2018 deadline so that the construction work begins from January.
Initially, the train would have 10 coaches with a total seating capacity of 750 passengers. Later, it is proposed to have 16 coaches with a seating capacity of 1,250 passengers.
The train would have two categories of seats — executive and economy —with the prices comparable with the base AC 2- tier fare of the Rajdhani Express.
In the initial days, railways expect around 1.6 crore people to travel by the bullet train annually. By 2050, around 1.6 lakh commuters would be traveling by the high-speed train on a daily basis.