Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor
|Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor|
|Locale||Maharashtra and Gujarat, India|
|Line length||508 km (316 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||25kV AC overhead lines|
|Operating speed||280 km/h|
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is an approved high-speed rail corridor project of connecting the cities of Mumbai, Maharashtra and Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India. If built, it will be India's first high-speed rail line.
high-speed rail corridor
This corridor, along with 5 other high-speed rail corridors, was introduced for feasibility study in the 2009–2010 Rail Budget. A 650 km long high-speed rail corridor was proposed to run from Pune railway station to Ahmedabad railway station via Mumbai. The point at which this route would touch Mumbai was to be decided when the feasibility report was prepared. The pre-feasibility study for the Ahmedabad–Mumbai–Pune corridor was completed by a consortium of RITES, Italferr and Systra. The top speed expected for the corridor was up to 350 km/h. The proposed stations included Lonavala on Mumbai–Pune section and Surat, Bharuch and Vadodara on Mumbai–Ahmedabad section. It was proposed to have 32 services between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Railway officials also proposed extending the corridor up to Bangalore.
India and Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to undertake a joint feasibility study of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route in New Delhi in September 2013. This was in pursuance of the Joint Statement between then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe on 29 May 2013, which provided that the two sides would co-finance a joint feasibility study of the route. The objective of the joint study was to prepare a feasibility report of the system with a speed of 300–350 km/h. The cost of the study (¥500 million) was borne equally by India and Japan. The study was scheduled to be completed within 18 months from its commencement, i.e. it would complete by July 2015. The study carried out traffic forecasting, alignment surveys and undertook a comparative Study of high-speed railway technology and systems. A MoU was signed in New Delhi on 14 February 2013 between the Ministry of Railways and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), the French national railways, for technical cooperation in the field of railways. The parties agreed to carry out jointly an "operations and development" feasibility project on the Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor. The project was funded by the SNCF with support from the French Ministry of Finance. Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the SNCF carried out studies on the project. JICA researched the technology, alignment and traffic-related aspects, while SNCF worked on business projections. The feasibility study included an alignment survey concerning aspects such as land acquisition, environmental challenges and building of tunnels and bridges, etc. It also suggested a financial model based on fare and non-fare box revenue.
JICA officials visited Mumbai in January 2014 to discuss the details of the project, and made selective site visits to the proposed route. On 21 January, following several meetings between JICA and Indian Railways officials, it was proposed to originate the corridor at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai. The proposed route would begin from BKC, go right up to Thane on the Central Line, and then take a diversion on the Trans-Harbour route which is on the Thane-Diva-Vasai-Virar stretch. The corridor would then switch over to the Western Line, before entering Gujarat and terminating at Ahmedabad. There will be 11 stations on the route, of which 7 will be in Mahararashtra. The intention behind taking the route via Thane is to keep the option open to link the corridor to Pune. The team also proposed other options for originating the line at either Bandra Terminus or Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, if the BKC option was unfeasible. Air-conditioned bullet trains are expected to operate in the corridor at speeds of 320 km/h, enabling commuters to traverse the 534 km distance in 2 hours. Currently, the fastest train operating on this sector is the Ahmedabad Duronto Express, which takes close to 7 hours to reach Ahmedabad from Mumbai Central running non-stop between these two cities at a maximum speed of 120 km/h.
The project held its first full-fledged meeting at the Railway Ministry in the first week of April 2014, to bring about a broad consensus on the project, especially between the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments, and the JICA, and Railway Board officials. At the meeting, officials agreed to begin the line from BKC, and then take it to Thane and onward to Virar. The Maharashtra government was in favour of connecting the line with Belapur as well, in order to bring high-speed rail to Navi Mumbai. However, railway officials were opposed to the Belapur detour. Officials also discussed the need to ensure that the terminal at BKC would be connected to Line 3 of the Mumbai Metro, enabling commuters from South Mumbai to reach BKC.
In May 2014, the project was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with the chairman of the High Speed Rail Corporation of India. The feasibility study on the project was carried out by RITES, Italferr and Systra in July 2015. On 20 July 2015, a joint Japanese-Indian survey team recommended a Shinkansen-style system for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line, including the adoption of Automatic train control and dedicated tracks.
Alternate Routes/Extensions cancelled
In March 2013, the Railway Board decided to drop the Mumbai-Pune section and operate the high-speed rail service only between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Board took the decision due to financial constraints, because the ghat section between Pune and Mumbai would escalate the budget for the project. According to V.A. Malegaonkar, Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO), Western Railway, "It's basically a Western Railway project and very little portion of Maharashtra was being covered under it. Hence, the Maharashtra government was showing little interest in the project and was also reluctant to bear a financial burden. That is the reason why the Railway Board has decided against including the Pune-Mumbai portion in the high-speed corridor".
In September 2015, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis requested railway authorities to incorporate Nashik into the corridor's alignment. Railway officials stated that the proposal was not feasible as it would require the entire project to be re-planned, and would greatly escalate costs due to the ghat section between Mumbai and Nashik.
Memorandum of Understanding
An MoU was signed by the governments of India and Japan on 12 December 2015. The Ministry of Railways, based on the recommendtion of the NITI Aayog, announced that Shinkansen technology would be adopted for the line, with technology transfer to support the Make in India programme. Japan would also provide staff training. In January 2016, the Ministry of Railways fast tracked the project and set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited to build and operate the corridor. The company was registered in January 2016 in the name of Indian Railways. It was planned for the company to eventually be made into a joint venture with equity participation of the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments. The Public sector company is expected to build and also carry out train operations.
Work on the high-speed rail corridor will start by late 2017 or early 2018 and is estimated to be completed by 2023-24. A 21 km undersea tunnel has been planned between Thane and Virar. It is estimated that land acquisition be completed by 2017.
The project is estimated to cost ₹97,636 crore (US$15 billion). Japan has agreed to fund 81% of the total project cost ₹79,165 crore (US$12 billion), through a 50-year loan at an interest rate of 0.1% and a moratorium on repayments up to 15 years. Indian Railways will invest ₹9,800 crore (US$1.5 billion) in the high-speed rail project, and the remaining cost will be borne by the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat. 20% of the components used on the corridor will be supplied by Japan, and manufactured in India.
It has been proposed to construct the line on an elevated corridor to avoid land acquisitions and the need to build underpasses. If this proposal is accepted, it would raise the cost for the project by an additional ₹10,000 crore (US$1.5 billion).
Infrastructure and operations
Trains are proposed to have length of between 10 and 16 coaches. Each train will have a passenger capacity of 1,300 and 1,600 passengers. The system will be designed to operate trains at a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour (220 mph), while operational speed would be 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph). When traveling at 350 kilometres per hour (220 mph) a train will be able to travel end-to-end on the 508 kilometres (316 mi) line in 2 hours and 7 minutes.
The line will have 11 stations. Proposed stations are Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Valsad, Vapi, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand or Nadiad and Ahmedabad.
The Indian Railways proposed constructing the proposed terminus at BKC as a three-storey underground station, because the Maharashtra state government planned to construct the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at BKC on the same plot. JICA's report had cited the BKC plot as the most suitable location to build the Mumbai terminus. In February 2016, the Railways and the state government came to an agreement to construct both projects at the BKC. However, in April 2016, the state government refused to permit construction of the underground station at BKC, citing the lack of availability of land in the area for an underground station after the completion of the proposed IFSC and its multi-level underground car park. The state government also stated that IFSC would begin generating revenue for the government shorty, while the rail corridor was only expected to be completed by 2023. It instead suggested relocating the proposed BKC terminus to either Matunga or Kanjurmarg.
The location of the terminal at Ahmedabad has not yet been decided. The Railways is in favour of constructing it "a little away" from the current Ahmedabad railway station.
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