New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In the sixth meeting of the Joint Working Group for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project, the Indian side communicated to their Japanese counterparts that the tenders for the systems, especially the electricals and signalling, will be floated/awarded by December/March 2022.
The meeting, held earlier this month, was co-chaired by V K Tripathi, Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board, and Satoshi Suzuki, the Japanese Ambassador.
India has told Japan that tenders for electrical and signalling systems, as well as the rolling stock, for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor will be floated without delay as land issues faced by the project appear to have been resolved.
“Since there is a cap agreed by both parties, and since civil works are now being executed at a fast pace, there is no roadblock to floating the systems tenders for the Japanese firms,” said sources.
Apart from this, Japan and India have agreed to put a cap on the cost of the systems and rolling stock, and that if the prices for these quoted by Japanese companies go beyond that cap, the balance will be footed by the Japanese side, outside the scope of the loan agreement for the project.
This puts to rest a longstanding impasse that the project has faced, with prices for many of the critical items to be supplied by Japanese companies indicated to be up to 90 per cent higher than project consultants’ estimates.
Another area of concern for the project was the procurement of the rolling stock — the actual train sets. As per Japan, only Kawasaki and Hitachi are eligible to supply the rolling stock. The Indian side had wanted to avoid a situation where both the companies jointly submit a bid, which could raise the price
According to plan, Twenty-four red E5 Series Shinkansen trainsets will be procured to operate on the corridor, of which 6 are to be assembled in India. Trains are proposed to have a length of between 10 and 16 coaches. Each bullet train will have a passenger capacity of between 1,300 and 1,600 passengers. The system will be designed to operate trains at a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour, while the operational speed would be 320 kilometres per hour.
“Bullet train is on its way. This train will change everything. Bullet train is an example of how we can bring the best technology from other countries. PM Modi takes interest in things like Bullet trains and such when he goes to a foreign country. PM did a similar thing when he went to Korea and Denmark. He always takes interest in foreign technology to see how it can be used in India too,” informed Union External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar on October 01 in Vadodara.
The bullet trains will be equipped with multi-purpose rooms that contain foldable beds for feeding mothers and patients, and the rooms will also be fitted with mirrors and baggage racks. The trains will be modified to operate under Indian weather. The bullet trains will have business and standard sections with 2x2 and 2x3 seating configuration respectively. According to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), the end-to-end fare on the corridor was expected to be Rs3,000 (US$38), and the minimum fare would be Rs250 (US$3.10).
Signaling equipment and power systems for the corridor will also be imported from Japan, per the terms of the loan agreement with JICA.
The japanese financial entity, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is covering 80% of the cost of the bullet train project with a soft loan (ODA) to India that compels the project to source critical components only from Japanese suppliers. The project is expected to cost Rs 1.6 - 2.0 lakh crore.
Recently, NHSRCL has completed one kilometer viaduct construction work. Most of tenders for construction work packages are already floated and awarded. Here is the status of all civil contract packages of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor:-
|C1||Underground station at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai||1.02 km||Tender Pending|
|C2||Underground tunnel between BKC and Shilphata (Thane district)||20.37 km||Tender Floated|
|C3||Viaduct between Shilphata (Thane) and Zaroli village (Valsad district)||135.45 km||Tender Pending|
|C4||Viaduct between Zaroli village (Valsad) and Vadodara||237.10 km||Awarded to L&T|
|C5||Viaduct and station within Vadodara||8.19 km||Awarded to L&T|
|C6||Viaduct between Vadodara and Ahmedabad||87.56 km||Awarded to L&T|
|C7||Viaduct and station within Ahmedabad||18.13 km||Awarded to IRCON-DRA JV|
|C8||Viaduct and building works at Sabarmati depot||2.12 km||Awarded to SCC–VRS JV|
Acording to Railway officials, the Gujarat portion of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor will be fully operational by 2027, followed by the Maharashtra portion by 2029.