India’s High-Speed Bullet Train During Peak Hours

Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet trains to ply every 20 minutes during peak hours

Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed bullet train will leave every 20 minutes from Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) during peak hours, a senior official of the National High Speed Railway Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) said on Sunday. The bullet train is expected to cover the 530-km stretch at a maximum speed of 320 km per hour to reach Ahmedabad in just about two hours. In comparison, trains plying on the route takes 7-plus hours to travel the distance, while flights account for 1 hour.

The Western Railway operates around 20 trains, daily, along one of the busiest routes in the country. The two cities are also connected by 10 flights to cater to passenger demand.

“We are planning to have 35 pairs of bullet train services, which means the trains will make 70 trips in a day between the two cities. During peak hours, 7-10 am and 5-9 pm, there will be three trains every hour, that is, one train in every 20 minutes. Two trains would ply during off-peak hours,” said Achal Khare, Managing Director of the National High Speed Railway Corporation Limited.NHSRCL will be responsible for executing the project of the high-speed train corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The 12 proposed stations along the route will include Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Baroda, Anand, Sabarmati and Ahmedabad.

The company is also planning to have two distinct schedules for the bullet trains. The faster route will stop at fewer intermediary stations, which will include Surat and Vadodara, before reaching Ahmedabad, while the other will stop at all stations, Khare added.

“We are trying to purchase 24 bullet train rakes of E-5 series with Shinkansen technology from Japan. We would keep 20 trains in operation and the rest on standby for emergencies. This would ensure free flow of services even during peak hours,” Khare said.

Work starts

The Maharashtra government will be acquiring 353 hectares for the bullet train project, while Gujarat will account for 1,047 hectares. The trains are expected to be commissioned for commercial use by August 2022.
Khare said: “We are planning to wrap up the land acquisition process by December. We have issued acquisition notices to 17 villages of the total 108 in Palghar and Thane. Rest will be issued in a fortnight.” Approximately Rs 10,000 crore has been earmarked for the acquisition, he added.
In February, the Maharashtra government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Railways for handing over land for the Bandra Kurla Complex station. The design for the underground station at BKC, which will be built under the International Financial Services Centre, is also in the process.

High on demand

The annual footfall on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is around 1.5 lakh people. Khare said with the bullet train, it is expected to rise further as it would attract air passengers, who roughly spend three hours more in addition to the flight time for travelling to the airport.

“Our study says while 4,700 passengers take flights daily, 5,000 passengers take trains, around 15,000 people use cars to commute between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. We intend to attract 40,000 passengers on a daily basis once our operations starts,” Khare added.

Initially, the train will have nine general coaches and one executive coach with 750 seats. The number of coaches will be increased to 15 by 2033.

“Stations will have baggage checking facilities and that would not be very time consuming. While heavy luggage would be parked in the luggage carrying area, small bags and handbags can be kept in overhead compartments,” he added.
The trains will have restrooms for for men and women with folding beds, rotating chairs.
“Trial runs would begin by 2021. The train would be run by one driver and we would have conductors to check tickets of passengers,” Khare added.

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