India to start manufacturing bullet trains – media

Lazy eyes listen


India is building its first bullet trains capable of exceeding speeds of 250 kilometers per hour (kmph), The Economic Times reported on Wednesday, citing a government official.

The new trains will be built on the same platform as India’s domestically designed ‘Vande Bharat’ semi-high-speed trains, which can reach 180 kmph. The design for the bullet train project is being prepared at Indian Railways’ Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, ET’s source informed.

The development comes amid New Delhi’s increased impetus to introduce high-speed trains. Railways are a major mode of transportation in India; the country operates over 12,000 trains on an average day, transporting approximately 24 million passengers.

Last month, the Times of India reported that India is on the cusp of sealing a deal with Japan for 24 E5 series Shinkansen high-speed trains, built by Hitachi Rail and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. These trains are likely to be running on India’s first high-speed rail line; the 508km route connects Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat with the nation’s financial hub Mumbai, in Maharashtra. The bullet train will reduce travel time between the two important economic hubs to just two hours; the journey currently takes over eight hours.

The project is scheduled to be completed within the next two years, and a large chunk of it has been already completed, according to Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its manifesto for the upcoming general elections, has promised more bullet train corridors if it wins a third term. Using experience gained from constructing the first corridor, the party says it will conduct “feasibility studies” for more such corridors in North, South, and East India.

The introduction of the Vande Bharat Express in 2019 has been touted as the next major leap for Indian Railways in terms of speed. Around 100 of these trains are already running. Modi’s government intends to introduce at least 400 new Vande Bharat trains within the next few years.

India has been cooperating with Russia on its Vande Bharat program. Last year, the Indian government-owned, publicly traded Indian company Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and Metrowagonmash – part of Transmashholding, Russia’s largest rail manufacturer – entered into a deal worth $6 billion to build and maintain 120 Vande Bharat trains.