Amid fanfare the Mumbai to Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project's foundation was laid on Thursday in Ahmedabad. Not only the project is a joint venture of India and Japan, but also it will be based on the Shinkansen super speed trains in Japan.
The Shinkansen meaning 'new trunk line' started in 1964 hailed as the symbol of innovation and technological advancements in Japan after the devastation of the World War 2.
Although Japan is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, the network boasts of zero accident fatalities in its 53-year service. A minor derailment was reported due to earthquake.
The network presently links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and Hakodate on northern island of Hokkaido, with an extension to Sapporo under construction and scheduled to commence in March 2031. It also had the highest ridership annually before giving up the title to its rival China.
The train attains the maximum speed of 320km. The trains are operated by the staff known for their punctuality. As per Economic Times, crew members of the Shinkansen trains are asked to give an explanation if the train arrives a minute late to its destination.
A video on YouTube titled 'The 7-Minute Miracle Of Japanese Train System' shows the crew members respectfully bowing as a Shinkansen entering the station, waiting for passengers to disembark and swiftly cleaning every car of the super speed train in seven minutes.
The Shinkansen project is environment-friendly too. The train hardly emits any carbon dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide and other harmful gases. An undated report of the Japan Railway & Transport Review said : "If the Tokaido Shinkansen had not been constructed, about 15,000 tons more CO2 would have been emitted in 1985. This corresponds to the annual amount of CO2 emitted by industry in and around Tokyo."
The fares for Shinkansen were, however, costly. Former member of the railway board, RC Acharya, wrote in an article for Hindustan Times in 2015 that a Shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Kyoto (514 km) costs Rs 7,700. It isn't surprising too that the estimate fares for the proposed Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train is estimated to range between Rs 3,000 - Rs 5,000.