New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a recent update provided by the Ministry of Railways, significant progress has been reported on two pivotal railway projects – the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) and the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs). These initiatives underscore the government's commitment to modernizing rail infrastructure and enhancing connectivity across the country.
The MAHSR project, often dubbed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train, has achieved noteworthy milestones in its development. The sanctioned cost for this high-speed rail venture stands at a staggering ₹1,08,000 crore. As of now, substantial progress has been made, with 290.64 km of pier foundation, 267.48 km of pier construction, 150.97 km of girder casting, and 119 km of girder launching completed.
This ambitious project aims to connect major business centers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, and Ahmedabad. The economic internal rate of return (EIRR), based on a feasibility study conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is estimated to be an impressive 11.8%.
However, the timeline for completion and final cost projections will only be ascertainable after awarding all contract packages. The MAHSR project holds the promise of revolutionizing travel in the region, offering high-speed connectivity and economic benefits.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Railways has made significant strides in the construction of two Dedicated Freight Corridors – the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC). The EDFC, spanning 1337 km from Ludhiana to Sonnagar, has been fully completed. Meanwhile, 1220 km out of the 1506 km of the WDFC, stretching from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Terminal (JNPT) to Dadri, have been successfully constructed.
These freight corridors are designed to accommodate higher axle load trains and double Stack Container trains (DSC) and provide faster access to the Northern hinterland through Western Ports. The completion of DFCs is anticipated to significantly reduce logistic costs, create new industrial hubs, and establish Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals.
In a bid to enhance passenger experience and improve infrastructure, the Ministry of Railways has identified 1318 railway stations for development or redevelopment under the 'Amrit Bharat Station Scheme.' This initiative follows the successful development and commissioning of three railway stations – Rani Kamlapati Station, Gandhinagar Capital Station, and Sir M. Visveswaraya Terminal Station – in the past three years.
The Amrit Bharat Station Scheme envisions continuous and phased development, focusing on amenities such as improved station access, waiting halls, toilets, lift/escalators, cleanliness, free Wi-Fi, kiosks for local products, and more. The long-term approach involves integrating stations with city infrastructure, providing facilities for differently-abled individuals, and adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.
These updates highlight the railways' commitment to modernization and improved connectivity, showcasing transformative projects that hold the potential to redefine travel experiences and logistics in the country. As the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train progresses and Dedicated Freight Corridors near completion, coupled with the ongoing redevelopment of railway stations, India's rail infrastructure is poised for a significant leap forward.