Japan to invest heavily in bullet trains in India

India is set to benefit from the famed Japanese bullet train technology, with Tokyo today pledging to invest heavily in building high speed railway systems in the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe issued a joint statement today in which they laid down the course of co-operation between the two countries on setting up high speed railway systems in India.

The two sides signed the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totalling USD 424 billion. This includes a USD 71 billion for the Mumbai Metro Line-lll project as well as the yen loan of the fiscal year 2012 for USD 353.106 billion for eight projects.

Prime Minister Singh noted Japan’s interest in supporting the introduction of high speed railway systems in India.

Singh appreciated Japan’s high level of expertise in designing and implementing Shinkansen (Bullet Train) systems.

Singh conveyed that India will plan such projects based on its infrastructure priorities, commercial viability and financial resources in India.

“The two Prime Ministers decided that the two sides will co-finance a joint feasibility study of high speed railway system on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route,” the joint statement issued after the bilateral summit said.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail line would stretch 500 kilometres at an estimated cost of upto one trillion yen.

The two Prime Ministers, recognising the importance of upgrading the speed of passenger trains on the existing Delhi-Mumbai route to 160-200 kmph (semi-high speed railway system), welcomed the final report of the feasibility study undertaken with Japan’s cooperation, and confirmed that further consultation between the two countries would be continued to draw up a road-map.


Rlys to carry out survey for Bullet Trains

PATNA: A high level team of the Railway Board officials held a meeting with Bihar chief secretary R J M Pillai recently in connection with the survey work of the proposed running of bullet train between Patna and Delhi. The railways intend to carry out survey work soon so that its feasibility could be assessed.

According to sources, the total cost of the survey work on Patna-Delhi route is likely to cost about Rs 11 crore. This route falls under Bihar, UP and Delhi. Accordingly, the cost of survey is to be shared with the railways by these states. Of about 1,000 km stretching from Patna to Delhi, about 200 km falls in Bihar. The Bihar government is to share half of the cost to be incurred on the survey work of about 200 km, sources said.

A board official described the talk with the chief secretary as positive and said the state government has expressed its willingness to co-operate with the railways on the project. This ambitious project would surely herald development in the state and benefit the people, he said.

According to sources, the railways are conducting survey on the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Chandigarh, Patna-Delhi, Bangalore-Chennai and Chennai-Hyderabad routes. The survey work and feasibility report are being prepared by a reputed company of France. If everything goes well, the railways would complete the survey work in a couple of months, the board official said.

Bullet trains are specially designed to run at the maximum speed of 250 km to 300 kmph per hour in foreign countries. In fact, separate tracks are required to run bullet trains which are substitute to air traffic in foreign countries. Besides, no goods trains would run on the special tracks of bullet trains for safety reasons, a technical expert said, adding the railways have been running the fastest Shatabdi Express on Delhi-Gwalior route at 140 kmph.

The railways will require at least Rs 10,000 crore to build up the infrastructure to run bullet trains. Though maintenance of bullet trains, particularly locomotives, is very costly, the Indian Railways are capable of maintaining bullet train coaches with the help of advanced technology, sources said.

A technical expert of the railways told TOI that the Indian Railways have the largest network in the country and introduction of bullet trains would fill railway coffers as elite class passengers would prefer journey by such high speed trains paying fare at premium cost, he said.


Bullet speed: Reaching Chennai in 90 min

BANGALORE : Reaching Chennai in 90 minutes could well be a reality. Lalu, in the interim railway budget presented on Friday, has proposed
six bullet trains including three for the South. These will run along Bangalore-Chennai, Chennai-Bangalore-Kochi and Hyderaband-Vijayawada-Chennai lines.

Though the railway ministry is yet to complete a detailed feasibility study, the proposal has the business community excited. Internationally, standard speed of a bullet train is 300 kilometres per hour. In India, the introductory speed may be set at 200-250 kmph, considering number of stops and level crossings. Currently, the Shatabdi between Delhi and Agra is the fastest Indian Railways train (150 kmph).

“Chennai-Bangalore distance is around 350 km. A bullet train covering the distance in 90 minutes will save a huge amount of travelling time,” said Vijaya Kumaran, chief administrative officer (construction), Indian Railways. Railways divisional manager Akhil Agarwal said: “I have recently attended a course on bullet train operations in Paris. It is a profit-making business globally. India can also make a success of it.”


Lalu Prasad gets a feel of bullet train

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, now in Japan to shore up funds for the proposed dedicated freight corridor, got a feel of the high-speed bullet train on Tuesday. Mr. Prasad, who is said to have carried his own basket of eatables, boarded the Shinkansen, the Japanese name for the bullet train, from Tokyo for a 2 hour 20 minute journey to Kyoto. The train attains a speed of up to 300 km per hour along the 515-km journey.

Mr. Prasad’s business for the day and Wednesday requires at least three trips in bullet trains. These included visits to Shin-Kobe and Shin-Osaka and back to Tokyo.

Leading a high-level delegation of his Ministry, Mr. Prasad is meeting a number of Japanese ministers and officials to expedite construction of the Rs.37,000-crore eastern and western corridors. Japan has agreed to provide Rs.17,000 crore as soft loan to finance a part of the western corridor project. India is also expected to purchase about 160 new class electric locomotives of 9000 HP to 12000 HP.

According to sources in the Railway Bhawan, Mr. Prasad was keen on procuring a part of the soft loan during the current fiscal itself as work on the project is to start soon.