INDIA’s National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) has awarded an Rs 38.6bn ($US 501m) contract for design and construction of the future Mumbai high-speed station, setting into motion work to build the first underground station on the Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed railway. 

A joint venture of Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited and Hindustan Construction Company Limited (MEIL-HCC) has been tasked to deliver the project within 54 months from the date of commencement. 

Japanese prime minister, Mr Fumio Kishida, and his Indian counterpart, Mr Narendra Modi, also signed an agreement on March 20 confirming a Yen 300bn ($US 2.3bn) Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) loan to support construction of the high-speed line. Jica signed an agreement with the India government for an official development loan worth Yen 100bn in 2022, the third tranche of economic support for the project. 

NHSRCL has meanwhile appointed the Japanese government nominated Japan High Speed Rail Electric Engineering Company to procure Japanese Shinkansen rolling stock and also finalise the line’s electrical and signalling works. 

The newly formed Japanese Company, officials say, will carry out works related to the Operations Control Centre, design contract, and production and construction contracts. 

The NHSRCL has also sought Japanese assistance on its station development plan, which is being anchored by the Union Ministry of Urban Development in coordination with the state governments and municipal bodies. JR officials have already started to engage with Indian engineers on transit-oriented development plans for stations at Sabarmati, Surat, Virar and Thane. “Depending on the experiences gained from the pilot project, the plans will be escalated and other stations on the line will be taken up,” officials said. 

IR targets to start commercial operations on the 508km line by 2027, but officials say the completion dates could be extended by about four years. It is possible that the line will be partially opened to connect Surat and Baroda in Gujarat state in 2027. Trial runs on a 50km section linking Surat to Bilimora are planned in 2026. 

Platforms at the Mumbai station, located in the Bandra-Kurla complex, will be built 24m above ground level. The station will have three floors including the platform, concourse and service floor. Two entry/exit points are planned: the first to facilitate access to Metro Line 2B - and the other to the MTNL building. Integration with other modes of transport including buses and taxis is also planned. 

The station will have six 415m-long platforms to accommodate 16-car trains. The package - called C-1 - also includes a 467m-long cut and cover tunnel and a 66m ventilation shaft, which will also be used for the tunnel boring machine. 

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