Travel by bullet trains from Mumbai to Pune in just 40 minutes (without stops) and to Ahmedabad in just 1 hour 52 minutes (without stops) with the train travelling at 350 km/hr!
This travel time assumption has been made by two foreign firms, Systra of France and Italferr of Italy, in its pre-feasibility study on the high speed line (HSL) — popularly known as the bullet train — connecting Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Rail India Technology and Engineering Services (RITES) cooperated with these two foreign firms during the feasibility study, which was conducted for a year. The study, a copy of which is with DNA, was submitted to the Union railway ministry earlier this year.
“The report is now being vetted by the appropriate authorities before taking any decision on the project,” highly placed sources in the Indian Railways said. The cost of the project has been pegged at a whopping Rs55,800 crore, out of which Rs49,000 crore will be for construction while the rest for rolling stock.
Given the competition Indian Railways faces from air and road transport sectors, the study noted: “The implementation of the high speed line between Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad could participate in the renaissance of the railways as a preferred mode of transport for mid range/long range distance within the corridor.
It could be financially and economically viable.”
The consultants have recommended the public-private partnership (PPP) model for implementing the project.
“Government participation is a must due to the huge social benefits that the project will accrue. And at the same time, due to high investment outlay, private sector participation will always benefit the project,” the consultants added.
It added that to make the project viable for the private party, the government can provide a grant or budgetary support of around 17% of the total project cost and soft loan of about 11%.
The study has predicted that 26.6 million passengers per year would travel by the bullet train with 2021 as the horizon year.