Larsen & Toubro wins first stage of India’s first high-speed railway

Indian contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won a contract to build a 237km stretch of India’s first high-speed rail scheme.

The company beat three other Indian bidders, and will lay track between Vapi and Vadodara as part of the 508km Mumbai-Ahmedabad line.

The contract includes an 88km viaduct, four stations and one depot.

L&T was up against Afcons Infrastructure, IRCON International and a consortium led by NCC and Tata Project to the $3.3bn work.

The Indian government had encouraged national firms to bid as part of a policy to promote self-reliance in rail schemes.

The line will use Japanese bullet train technology (see further reading). However, according to Engineering News-Record, sources in the Indian railway ministry said prices charged by Japanese companies for designing and building the project were too steep for the National High Speed Rail Corporation, the government agency developing it.

The corporation is undertaking eight high-speed lines at a total cost of $17bn. Of this, $13.7bn is being loaned at 0.1% interest rate by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Other lines will run between Delhi and Amritsar, Varanasi, and Ahmedabad; from Mumbai to Hyderabad and Nagpur; between Varanasi and Kolkata and Chennai and Mysore.

Japanese companies are expected to provide shinkansen locomotives for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. The Indian government still has the option to pursue international bidding, although ENR comments that it is unlikely to choose Chinese trains given the frosty relations between India and China.

Image: India may use Japan’s shinkansen bullet trains for Mumbai line (Dreamstime)

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