• Saturday, February 24, 2024

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When will bullet train run in India? Railway minister Vaishnaw gives major update

The maiden section of the high-speed train — a 50-kilometre stretch between Bilimoria and Surat in the western state of Gujarat — will be completed in August 2026.

Representational Image (Photo by JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday (29) gave a major update about the country’s much awaited bullet train project saying the maiden section of the high-speed train — a 50-kilometre stretch between Bilimoria and Surat in the western state of Gujarat — will be completed in August 2026.

He also spoke about the Kavach system, an indigenously developed warning system to prevent on-track collisions that made the headlines following a horrific three-train accident in the eastern state of Odisha that killed nearly 300 people. He also gave an update on the Gajraj system, a technology aimed at prohibiting collisions between trains and elephants on the tracks. Deaths of elephants from train collisions on tracks are a major issue that Indian Railways face every year.

Read: PM Modi’s pet bullet train hits corruption bump, project chief sacked

Vaishnaw also said about the growing number of trains in India, adding that their numbers have gone past the pre-pandemic numbers.

Read: When Shinzo Abe inaugurated bullet train project, did road show in open jeep in Gujarat

The minister’s updates on the bullet train project follow his updates given last week where he said the work to complete 100 kilometres of viaducts and 230 kilometres of pier work had been undertaken for the larger bullet train corridor connecting Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Mumbai in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. The Bilimoria-Surat section is part of that project.

Vaishnaw gave a similar update at an event of the Confederation of Indian Industry in March this year when he said that India’s first bullet train will run in August 2026, adding that it will boost the economy as many of the firms that are supplying to the project were getting export orders.

He said the plan was to operate the bullet train on a larger section in 2027.

On November 23, Vaishnaw posted a video on X showing completed viaducts across places such as Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Vadodara and Anand in Gujarat, which is also the home state of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Bridges are also being constructed over six rivers as part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, shared drone videos of these bridges, some of which have already been completed, with the caption “… bullet speed”.

The projected expense is an estimated Rs 1.08 lakh crore (£10.2 billion), of which the federal government is committed to giving Rs 10,000 crore (£944.4 million), while the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra will contribute Rs 5,000 crore (£472.2 million) each.

The remaining funding will be secured through a loan from Japan — at a minimal interest rate.

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