India’s first bullet train is likely to run between Surat and Bilimora by 2026, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways told reporters on Wednesday.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, stretching over 508-km, is an ambitious initiative that was supposed to be completed by 2023 and the trial run for Surat and Bilimora stretch was supposed to have started in 2022.
But due to hurdles in land acquisition especially in Maharashtra and Covid-19, the project has been delayed.
Asked about the hurdles in land acquisition a senior railway official said, “Over 98 percent land acquisition work is completed in Gujarat, and the process of acquiring land in Maharashtra is on.”
Currently only 30 per cent land acquisition work is completed in Maharashtra, but NHSRCL, the executing body of the bullet train project, is now hopeful that they will be able to overcome resistance of locals with the help of local authorities in Maharashtra.
About AC train operation in Mumbai, the Minister of Railways said, “Keeping in mind the survey conducted by both the Zonal Railways, appropriate decisions will be taken soon.”
Vaishnaw also described the benefits of doubling project of Nimach-Ratlam railway section of Western Railway. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the doubling of Nimach-Ratlam railway line.
The total estimated cost of the project will be Rs 1,095.88 crore and its escalated or completion cost is Rs 1,184.67 crore. The total length of the doubling of the line is 132.92 km. The project will be completed in four years.
The doubling of Nimach-Ratlam section will increase the capacity of the section. Thus, more goods and passenger trains can be introduced on the system. Due to proximity of cement industries, additional freight traffic of 5.67 million ton per annum is expected from first year which will increase to 9.45 million ton per annum in eleventh year.
This will provide easy connectivity as well as result in socio-economic development of the region. Project will also boost tourism in the area as many historical sites including Fort of Unchagarh are situated in the project area.