Work on the Mumbai Ahmedabad Bullet train line has been going on quite well with all sections running on schedule. The work is expected to be completed by 2023 on 60% of the track for which land acquisition has been completed. certain sections in Maharastra are late on schedule due to problems in acquiring land for the project. The total length of the line would be 508KM and the operating speed of the trains would be 320Km/h or 200mph.
These are crazy speeds for Indian trains. The fastest train that we have in current operation is the Gatimaan Express that runs at 160Kmph and that too for a short period of time. The Gatiman and the Indian WAP 7 engine is rated to speeds up to 200Km/h but our tracks and interchanges are not smooth enough for speeds like that. For a train to operate in excess of 250Km/h we need special tracks one of which is being built between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. We also however need better train sets for that kind of speed. Although our current trains can run at 180 or 200km/h, stability and passenger comfort at those speeds would be horrible. To feel stable and safe at higher speeds, trains need to be of better qualities something that the Japanese have mastered over the years.
Enter, the Japanese bullet train
This is why the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) of India has procured trains from Japan, particularly their Sinkanshen of Bullet train rolling stock. The Indian high-speed railways will procure 24 E5 Series Shinkansen trainsets from Japan. 6 of which will be assembled in India. Of course, these trains will be slightly modified to operate in hotter Indian conditions but their look and working will remain largely the same. These trains are rated to operate at a top speed of 320 km/h which is far higher than what we currently have. The Indian bullet train is expected to cut the travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from 8 hours to 2 hours. There are other high-speed corridors planned as well work on which would start in the near future.
Below is a video that shows the outside and inside of the E5 Series Shinkansen, the rolling stock that will be used in India.
What about train 18
Train 18 is not in the same class as high-speed trains. It was an attempt to create electric multiple units from which Indian railways could learn a thing or two about high-speed trains. This project has certainly taught the Indian railways about the challenges involved in manufacturing a high-speed train, an experience that they could use in procuring rolling stocks from other countries. Indian railways will keep on working on their own manufacturing of high-speed trains along with the operation of E5 Series Shinkansen brought from East Japan Railway.
Other high speed rail projects
India is also working on Semi High-Speed rail corridor between Delhi and Meerut called the Regional Rapid Transit System. It’s an 81km long corridor in Delhi NCR on which trains will operate at speeds up to 180 km/h. Rolling stocks for the RRTS will be manufactured by Bombardier under the Make in Indian initiative. The trains will look like this.