On September 1, senior representatives from the railway ministry and the Japanese government are expected to meet for an important review of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project, which is currently under development.
According to reports, the joint committee will likely make the final decision about the determination of the cost of rolling stock (trains). The highest level of consultation is held by the joint committee when moving forward with projects that benefit both parties.
Given that all of the civil contracts for this 508-kilometre high-speed rail project were put out to bid by NHSRCL, the organisation responsible for its implementation, the meeting has greater significance. The NHSRCL recently issued an invitation for bids for the purchase of 24 E5 Series Shinkansen trainsets, which are expected to cost roughly Rs 11,000 crore.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will preside over the meeting, which will also include a Japanese delegation. The previous meeting was co-chaired by Mori Masafumi, the Japanese prime minister’s special adviser.
“There are only two major pending issues of rolling stock and the signalling system. Since the project is at an advanced stage and progressing swiftly, the decisions on these issues should be taken fast. Finalising the cost of rolling stock will expedite the process for their procurement,” said a source. The government targets to run the first such train in 2027 in the Gujarat portion of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor.
According to the financial requirements of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), only Japanese players are permitted in the acquisition of rolling stock, and only a small number of Japanese rolling stock giants, such as Hitachi Rail and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, construct such trainsets. The companies will have to submit their bids by October end.
There will be 10 carriages on each Shinkansen trainset, with a capacity of 690 people. According to insiders, the trainsets would be upgraded to withstand the severe Indian summers and constant dust.