NDA govt to buy 18 Shinkansen bullet trains from Japan for Rs 70 bn: Report

Indian PM Narendra Modi (right) with Japan's PM Shinzo Abe (left) travelling in the Shinkansen bullet train (FILE Photo: @MEAIndia Twitter handle)
India is planning to buy 18 bullet trains from Japan for about Rs 70 billion in a deal, which includes transfer technology for local production. "We’ll buy 18 Shinkansen train sets from Japan,” an official told Economics Times, adding that each train will have 10 coaches and would be able to cruise at the speed of 350 km per hour.

According to the report, the government will soon float a tender to procure high-speed trains in which Japanese manufacturers will participate to set up bullet trains assembly units in India in line with designs similar to that of Japan Railways.

Meanwhile, the first bullet train in India is being planned to run from Surat to Billimora in Gujarat in 2022 before the complete targetted commissioning of the 508-km corridor in 2023. The train will complete the 50-km stretch in about 15 minutes.

Modi-led NDA government wanted to run the first bullet train by August 15, 2022.

What makes Japan's Shinkansen trains most sought after?

The Shinkansen bullet train system, which literally means the 'new trunk line', is the world's first system for high-speed trains running at speeds of up to 320 km/hour.

The Shinkansen train is quite safe with an impressive record in Japan. Over its 50-year history, it has had zero passenger fatalities despite frequent earthquakes and typhoons.

How to run the Japanese technology in India with the same efficiency, the Shinkansen is known for?

Construction of the High-Speed Training Institute, an integral part of the bullet train project, is underway in Vadodara. The Rs 6 billion project of building the institute is crucial because as per the agreement with the Japanese, continuous training of manpower is essential to run the system smoothly. By 2023, around 3,500 personnel need to be ready with adequate skills so that the system can roll out

Last week, Tarun Kathhpadia, Executive Team Leader, Japan International Consultants for Transportation Co said, "The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed project's training centre is the heart of the bullet train project. The Japanese government is funding us and will give their technology to us. Later, the Japanese trainers will come here and will train us how to run the bullet trains besides highlighting other technical aspects."

"Bullet train will run at 350km/hr speed. We have to ensure that in India also the bullet train runs with the same quality and parameters at which it runs in Japan. JIC is the supervising consultant. They are here to ensure that the work is done at the best quality, on time and under proper security measures", he added.

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