Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor is estimated to cost Rs 98,805 crore, according to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s final feasibility report submitted to railways.

The ambitious bullet train project aims at running trains at maximum speed of 350 kmph which will reduce the travel time on the 505-km long corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to two hours from the existing more than seven hours.

The report also suggested that the fare would be one and half times more than that of the First AC of Rajdhani Express between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and it would be around Rs 2,800.The report was much-awaited as the bullet train is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project. An official said railways will examine the report and decide the future course of ac tion. As a follow-up action, a Cabinet note seeking approval for the project with an outline of the project feasibility and timelines is likely to be prepared next month, he added. If work begins in 2017, the line can be completed in 2023 and made operational in 2024. It is estimated that by 2023 around 40,000 passengers are expected to avail this service everyday and accordingly it would be a financially viable service.

Besides JICA, SNFC of France has already carried out a feasibility study of the route and has submitted the business model to the ministry. An official said Japanese government has offered to fund the project at a low interest rate.However, the loan offer comes with the rider that 30% of the rolling stock for the project would be sourced from Japanese firms.

A financial rate of return (RoR) of 4% and an economic RoR of 12% has been projected for the project. The JICA has suggested that the line be constructed on the internationally accepted “standard gauge“ as against another opinion in the railways that the “broad gauge“ option be considered since India's main line train operation is based on broad gauge. The report points out that high-speed trains run at over 300 kmph on the standard gauge across the world.


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