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Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
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Bullet trains, also known as high-speed rail (HSR), have been a popular mode of transportation in countries like Japan, China, and France for many years.
These trains can travel at a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour, making them a rapid and efficient way to travel long distances.
In recent years, India has been attempting to introduce bullet trains as a form of transportation. The nation of India’s government intends to connect its major cities with a network of bullet trains.
But is such a costly and ambitious endeavour beneficial or detrimental for India?
Work on the first proposed bullet train route between Mumbai and Ahmedabad commenced in 2017. The 508-kilometer railway, which will have 12 stops, is expected to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from seven hours to just two. For those who frequently travel between these two cities for job, pleasure, or commerce, this would be a boon. The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), a business established by the Indian government, is carrying out the project. NHSRCL said that the project is likely to be completed by 2027.

Will bullet trains put India’s transport sector on the fast track?

The project is being funded by a combination of public and private capital, with the majority of the funds coming from Japan’s SoftBank Group and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Other bullet train projects, including routes between Delhi and Mumbai, Mumbai and Chennai, and Mumbai and Kolkata, have also been planned by the Indian government.
These programmes are in addition to the route between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The completion of these projects, which are now in the planning and feasibility study phases, will greatly improve connectivity and cut down on travel times between India’s major cities. By offering a quick and effective means of transportation for both people and products, this would have a significant positive impact on the nation’s economy.
The efficiency and speed of bullet trains are two of its main advantages. These trains can travel at high speeds because of their complex infrastructure, which consists of specialised rails and signalling systems. They can also cover great distances rapidly, which makes them a sensible option for commuters and tourists.
The business community would gain a lot from this because it would allow them to reach a wider audience and sell their goods across the nation.
In addition to their speed, bullet trains are renowned for their dependability and safety. Japan’s Shinkansen system serves as concrete evidence of this. The Shinkansen has had zero fatalities since it first started operating in 1964, and it’s record for delays is under one minute.
Additionally, because they do not require deforestation to lay lines, bullet trains are environmentally better because they can transport heavier loads than regular trains. They are also a more dependable alternative for travellers because they can run in a variety of weather conditions.
Yet another advantage that bullet trains have is that they are more eco-friendly. Compared to flying or driving, high-speed rail is a substantially more environmentally beneficial option because it emits far less pollution. For people who are worried about how their travel will affect the environment, this makes it a good option.
This is a crucial point to consider, as the need to cut carbon emissions and the consequences of climate change become more widely recognised.
Although they offer numerous advantages, bullet trains also have significant drawbacks. The expense of constructing and maintaining the required infrastructure, which includes tracks, stations, and signalling systems, is one of the major problems. For both the government and commercial businesses, this may represent a considerable financial burden.
The cost of constructing a bullet train corridor is roughly Rs. 100 crore rupees per kilometre. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR is 508 kilometres long. To add, the cost of rolling rock and installing appropriate signalling can increase the cost to as much as Rs 115 crore rupees per kilometre. Given the exorbitant cost of building, these trains would also have expensive rates.
A one-way ticket on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR is anticipated to cost around Rs 5000. It is simply too expensive for the majority of Indians to be able to pay. The typical cost of a flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is between Rs 2,000 and 5,000 on an average. If this is the case, a bullet train could expand the gap between the rich and the poor instead of resolving transportation problems, and it would be impractical if it didn’t reduce traffic and commuting problems.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these issues don’t simply apply to India. Nations with HSR in service, but still facing viability concerns include France, Taiwan, and South Korea. Argentina abandoned bullet trains and chose medium-speed infrastructure because the return on investment did not support expenses.
In terms of implementing HSR, the acquisition of land for the construction of tracks and stations is possibly India’s biggest issue. Land acquisition for bullet train projects has historically faced a lot of opposition. Despite the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects on local communities and compensate those affected by the projects, disputes can still arise over these issues.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the Indian government is dedicated to offering the country bullet trains as a means of transportation. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project is well underway under PM Narendra Modi, and the administration has also disclosed plans for several other routes.
Bullet trains might greatly improve connectivity and shorten travel times between India’s major cities if these measures are successful.

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