France to examine bullet train plan on Mumbai-Ahmedabad route
New Delhi: The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor has got a boost with France agreeing to examine the possibility of running trains at 300 km per hour speed on the route.
A high-level delegation headed by the chairman of France's Railway is currently in Mumbai to discuss all pros and cons of the bullet train project on the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Pre-feasibility study of the route has already been conducted by RITES in association with French consultant Systra.
Estimated to cost about Rs 63,000 crore, the 534-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is expected to be executed with the help of French technology as Railways has signed an MoU with SNCF (French Railway) yesterday.
As per the MoU, the Railways and SNCF will carry out jointly an operations and development feasibility project on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor. The project will be funded by SNCF with a support from the French Ministry of Finance.
Railways has identified seven routes for conducting pre- feasibility study for high speed corridors including Delhi- Agra-Patna, Howrah-Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Thiruvanathapuram and Mumbai-Ahmedabad.
Considered as a key infrastructure project, the Prime Minister Office is also monitoring the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project and has asked the Railways to constitute a project steering group to examine options for executing it.
The project will be executed on PPP model where state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to be stakeholders along with Railways.
Besides high speed rail, Railways will seek French cooperation on station development and modernisation of rail infrastructure and suburban train operation as per the agreement.
The MoU was signed yesterday by Vinay Mittal, chairman of Railway Board and G Pepy, chairman and CEO of SNCF. The MoU is valid for a period of five years and is extendable by a year with mutual consent.
Railways had earlier signed an MoU with France in 2008 which was in force till May last year.
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