Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Japanese PM Shinzo Abe launched work on India’s first bullet train at Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Thursday this morning. The 508 km high-speed rail link to Mumbai is seen as a centrepiece of PM Modi’s efforts to demonstrate India’s capability to build high-tech projects. The project also signals New Delhi and Tokyo’s close ties amid China’s growing assertiveness in the region. The bullet train is expected to begin operating in 2022.
“A strong India is good for Japan and a strong Japan is good for India,” said Mr Abe after the two leaders laid the foundation stone for the project at the Sabarmati station. He spoke in Japanese but began with “Namaskar” and ended his speech with a “Dhanyawad.” Japan PM Shinzo Abe says Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global.
The Rs. 1.1 lakh crore bullet train project is a joint venture between the Indian Railways and Japanese firm Shinkansen Technology. The Japanese team estimated that the first train would roll out by 2023, but Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said PM Modi wants the train to start on 15 August 2022 – when India completes 75 years of Independence.
The new train will race between PM Modi’s home state Gujarat and Mumbai, carrying 750 passengers. Travel time will be reduced from eight hours to a little over three hours if it stops at all the 12 stations and around two hours if it stops at only four.
At an average speed of 250 km per hour, with a top speed of around 320 km per hour, the train will run at more than double the top speed of the fastest train in India.