Zooming into the Future: Update on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR corridor

With a vision to make the railway system in the country future ready and transform the conventional railway net­work, Indian Railways (IR) has introduced the high speed rail (HSR) system. The aim is to provide safe, reliable and sustainable HSR networ­ks with technological excellence for the development of the nation. In the coming yea­rs, the HSR corridors will connect all the important In­dian cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahme­da­bad, Nagpur, Varanasi, Nag­pur, Benga­luru, Chennai and Chandigarh. HSR corridors will double the speed of passenger trains to 350 km per hour and facilitate the introduction of other world-class technologies. India’s first HSR corridor, which is under construction, is the 508.09 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor. The project has made significant progress in the past few years. Construction activities on the corridor have commenced and contracts for major civil works have been awarded. The corridor will be equipped to handle 17,900 pa­ss­engers one way on a daily basis, which will be increased to 92,900 passengers in the futu­re. According to National High Speed Rail Cor­poration Limited (NHSRCL), passengers will be ferried in 35 daily train trips.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the key features of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor, the progress so far, the issues faced and the way forward…

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR corridor pro­ject is a flagship project of IR that will connect the two financial hubs of the country. It is being implemented by NHSRCL. The company has been incorporated with 50 per cent equity from the Ministry of Railways (MoR) and 25 per cent equity each from the Gujarat and Maharashtra governments. The project was originally expected to be completed by 2023. However, owing to various issues pertai­ning to land acquisition and delays on account of outbreak of the pandemic, the project is now expected to be completed by 2027.

Features and design

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR corridor has a design speed of 350 km per hour. However, its operational speed is expected to be around 320 km per hour. The corridor has a total of 12 pla­nned stations, namely, Mumbai, Thane, Vi­rar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Va­do­dara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. Of these, eight are in Gujarat and four in Maha­rashtra. Except for Mumbai, which is an underground station, all the other stations will be elevated. Once completed, the HSR corridor will reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Ah­medabad from eight hours to around two hours. India’s HSR corridor will deploy one of the best global technologies, the Japanese Shi­nkansen system. The Shinkansen system has the highest safety levels in the world and a record of zero passenger fatalities since its inception in Japan in 1964. The project is re­ceiving Japanese assistance for development and understanding of the technology.

Of the 508.09 km length, 465 km will be via­ducts, 9.82 km bridges, 6.75 km will be bank cut and cover, 21 km undersea tunnels and 5.22 km will be mountain tunnels. Further, an HSR training institute, three rolling stock depots and eight maintenance depots are pla­nned under the project. The HSR training institute has been set up in Vadodara, in which se­lec­ted engineers and technicians will be en­rolled as there is a need to train drivers, technicians and engineers so as to familiarise them with the new system.

Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries and India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited have formed a joint venture to manufacture rolling stock for the project. The manufacturing will be done at the Jhansi and Bhopal plants with technology transfer from Japan. Nearly 24 train sets comprising 240 coaches have been planned for procurement from Japan. The operational control centre for the rolling stock will be located in Sabarmati, whereas the ma­in­tenance depots will be situated in Thane and Surat. The rakes will have double skin aluminium alloy airtight body and floor with noise in­sulation. Further, noise insulation panels and sound absorbing side covers over the bo­gie will also be installed to ensure a comfortable ride. The train will have reclining seats that are ergonomically designed with seat leg rest and ample leg space.

The trains will be equipped with an advanc­ed signalling system comprising train detection through coded digital audio frequency track circuits and fall back through axle counters. The signalling system will use high quality gas filled ATC cables that will help in the quick detection of cable crack or breakage. Further, the train will be equipped with optical fibre cable and a centrally controlled passenger information system for stations as well as on board.

Financing details

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR system is ex­pec­ted to entail a total invest of nearly Rs 1.08 trillion including escalations, interest during construction, taxes and duties. Of this, 81 per cent is being funded through a soft loan from the Japanese government at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum. The time period for loan re­payment is 50 years with a 15-year grace pe­riod. This implies that the loan repayment will be done in 35 years.

The remaining project cost will be borne by the Government of India. As per the equity str­ucture of NHSRCL, 50 per cent is held by Gov­ernment of India through the MoR and 25 per cent each by the Mahara­shtra and Gujarat governments. The Japan International Coopera­tion Agency has supported the Mumbai-Ah­meda­bad HSR with official development assistance loans of JPY 350,000 million since 2017.

Progress so far

The work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR corridor is now in full swing. Civil works have commenced on the total project length of 352 km, located in Gujarat and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, from December 2020 onwards, and it is in different phases. As of December 31, 2022, the piers have been constructed for a distance of 126.44 km while pile work has been erected for a distance of 227.62 km. A total of 24.73 per cent physical progress has been made in which Gujarat has achieved 30.68 per cent progress and Maharashtra 13.37 per cent pro­gress. Me­an­while, the girders of 21.44 km have been la­unched. Rail slabs of 50 metres each at the Surat and Anand stations have also been cast.

In other important developments, the final location survey and geotechnical investigation for the project has been completed and the alignment for the same has been finalised. The project has received various approvals including statutory clearances relating to wildlife, coastal regulation zone and forest clearance. Nearly 98.6 per cent land has been acquired for the project. Of the total land requirement of approximately 1,392.6 he­c­tares, 1,374.2 hectare, has been ac­qui­red. The entire project work has been divided into 28 contract packages including a training institute at Vadodara. As of December 21, 2022, 19 packages have been awarded, one is under evaluation, while notices inviting tenders (NITs) have been published for three packages. For the balance five packages, NITs are yet to be published. Meanwhile, of 1,651 utilities, 1,596 have been shifted.


Land acquisition has been one of the biggest challenges that has impeded the development of the HSR corridor. Owing to protests in various villages of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the land handover was delayed, which has led to time overruns for the project. Issues such as competition from air transport, cost escalation, upgradation of tracks to handle high speed tra­ins, and establishing of common construction standards for infrastructure components will also impact the efficient implementation of such projects.

What lies ahead

Touted as a revolution in passenger commute, IR will take up more HSR corridors in the future. The MoR has undertaken feasibility studies for some routes of the Diamond Quadrilateral – Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, Mumbai-Chennai, Mumbai-Nagpur and Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysu­ru. Further, the survey and preparation of a de­tailed project report for the various HSR corridors has been undertaken. These include, Delhi-Varanasi, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Hydera­bad, Delhi- Chandigarh-Amritsar and Varanasi-Howrah. However, given the capital-intensive nature of HSR systems, the sanction of any project depends on several factors such as technical feasibility, financial viability and availability of financing options.

Disha Khanna