Bullet train project completion date rests on award of all tenders, says Railways in RTI reply


PTI, Apr 24, 2024, 7:45 PM IST

Representative image (source: Pexels)

New Delhi: The completion date of the entire 508 km-long bullet train project can be assessed only after all work tenders have been awarded, the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is constructing the corridor, has said in an RTI reply

However, a senior official associated with the project said that the Bullet Train project is on track with the construction of 163 km of viaduct, 302 km of piers and 323 km of foundations.

“A total of 35 km of the viaduct has been handed over for track works. 100 per cent tenders for civil works for the entire corridor and tenders for track works in Gujarat have been awarded. The trial runs between Surat and Billimora in Gujarat will start in 2026,” the officer added.

According to NHSRCL sources, the first civil contract for the Maharashtra portion was awarded in March 2023, as a major portion of the land required for the project in Maharashtra was not available.

In his application under the Right to Information Act, Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur sought to know if the NHSRCL is in a position to give a final date for the completion of the whole project through an application under the RTI.

Responding to the same, the NHSRCL said, “Completion date for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project (MAHSRP) can be assessed after award of all tenders/packages.”

The project was launched in 2017 and initially it was scheduled to be ready by December 2023 but land acquisition issues as well as Covid delayed its progress significantly.

The Railways Ministry has officially announced the completion of the first phase, a 50-km long stretch between Surat and Bilimora, by August 2026. It also announced in January 2024 that 100 per cent land was acquired for the project.

The NHSRCL also said in response to the RTI application that rail tracks have not been laid yet, adding, however, by April 6, 2024, “a total length of 157 km viaduct has been completed”.

Providing an update on the progress work of the corridor, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed on X on March 28, 2024 that 295.5 km of pier work and 153 km of viaduct has been completed.

“Piers are big cylindrical columns erected on the ground. Girders are placed on piers to make a viaduct. On the viaduct, a reinforced concrete track bed is placed. Then comes the precast track slab on it. The rails are fitted on the track slab with the help of fastening devices,” said an expert associated with the project.

“Out of a total length of 508 km of the project, 465 km are on viaducts, 9,82 kms on bridges, 5,22 kms pass through mountain tunnels and 21km is underground with 7 km will be under the sea,” he added.

According to the NHSRCL, the bullet train will run at its maximum speed of 320 km to cover the 508 km distance in 2 hours and 58 minutes which includes its stoppage time at all 10 stations. It will start from Mumbai and terminate at Sabarmati after covering ten stations namely Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand and Ahmedabad.

“Out of 508 km, 352 km falls in Gujarat and Dadar & Nagar Haveli and the remaining 156 km is in Maharashtra. There are a total of 12 stations out of which 8 are in Gujarat and 4 in Maharashtra,” a project expert said, adding the estimated cost of the project is 1,08,000 cr.

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