Bullet train trials to be conducted at 350 kmph in 2026, say officials

The trials on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor will be conducted between Gujarat’s Bilimora and Surat in 2026. The train will run at a speed of 350km per hour (kmph), officials said on Wednesday, adding that the operational speed of the train will be 320kmph.

The services will come at a fare matching the economy-class flights and are likely to have a higher free-luggage limit, sources said. The total length of the bullet train corridor is 508.17 km and the train is expected to take around 2 hours and 58 minutes to travel between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, covering eight stations in Gujarat and four in Maharashtra.

Officials of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) and Japanese Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki are in Gujarat since Tuesday to review the progress of work on the project route.

“It will be a game-changer for travellers and a competition to air travel. The bullet train will have less check-in time, more leg space and above all, connectivity, which is denied on-board airplanes,” an official told PTI.

The trains will run on special tracks called the “slab track system”, popularly known as HSR technology for construction of tracks, patented by Japanese. Using designs procured from Japan, construction is being done through the Full Span Launching Method, one of the sophisticated bridge construction technologies in the world. The NHSRCL has built 200-250 pillars per month between Bilimora and Surat.

The longest (1.26 km) bridge under the project will be completed by July 2024. In Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, 100 per cent of the civil contracts for the construction of the entire 352km route have been awarded to Indian contractors.

The work on all eight high-speed rail stations from Vapi to Sabarmati is in various stages of construction, the officials said. The passenger terminal hub at Sabarmati, integrating HSR, Metro, BRT and two Indian Railways stations, is expected to be completed by August this year.

National High-Speed Railway Corporation Limited MD Satish Agnihotri said Japanese technology is “the best in the world”, adding that the Japanese government funded more than 80 per cent of the project at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent and has given India 50 years to repay.

“Japan’s E5 series of bullet trains beat both France and Germany in terms of technology speed and other segments,” Agnihotri said.

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