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T-49, India’s longest under-construction rail tunnel

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T49 2
T49 2


Indian Railway’s longest tunnel that is under construction is now nearing completion.

T49 Tunnel
T49 Tunnel

Named T49, the tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the country and the Afcons constructed 7.32KM (nearly 60%) of the total tunnel It is linking the country’s northernmost part, ie, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), with the rest of India.

To do so, it is constructing a series of tunnels and bridges to navigate the rugged mountain terrain of the Lower Himalayas (or Lesser Himalayas). Punching through the mighty Peer Panjal ranges in the Lower Himalayas, in J&K, the railways are finishing the longest railway tunnel in India. The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project undertakes this arduous mission to join J&K with the mainland.

The T49 tunnel is 12.75 KM long and connects the Sumber and Arpinchala Stations in the Ramban district of J&K. Afcons has constructed 7.32 KM of the total tunnel which is nearly sixty per cent of the entire tunnel length. Besides the main tunnel, Afcons has also constructed two adits, twenty cross passages, two bridges, and a station yard among others.

Defying Gravity

Tunnelling itself is a veritable challenge in the Himalayas. Imagine the levels of complexity when constructing a tunnel with a downward gradient. The gradient of a tunnel is a measure of how steep a slope or a line is. It plays a major role in the overall engineering & construction. Afcons constructed 7.32 KM of the tunnel from the north portal (Arpinchala Village) which is at an altitude of 1,600M.

As a result, one of the major challenges was the pouring of overt gantry concrete from an upward gradient to a downward gradient. “The pouring rate of overt gantry concrete should not be more than 5.8 cum/hr. If the pouring rate is increased then there are chances of bulging of the gantry which will lead to misalignment. To avoid this, the team effectively and meticulously ensured accurate pouring rate, and the gantry mechanism was minutely surveyed,” said Chandra Shekhar Dixit, Afcons’ Project Manager.

Excavation Challenges

Besides the unique challenge of gravity, there were few other known challenges in the region, and, especially, in the context of constructing such a long tunnel. Arranging ventilation systems, dewatering and navigating adverse geological and climatic conditions were clear and present dangers. In one of the tunnel sections, a 450M-long stretch had a thick overburden of 800-850M. “The overburden was causing incidents of rock bursting, spalling, and popping during excavation. We drilled pressure relief holes to release the accumulated stress, and installed Swellex bolts to provide immediate support,” Dixit said.

In another two-kilometre stretch of the main tunnel there was a risk of high deformation due to squeezing ground conditions. “We were facing a daunting challenge of diameter reduction by almost 1-1.5M. This would have significantly impacted project progress. To avoid this, we identified the stretch, and reprofiled it,” the Project Manager explained. 

There were other geological challenges like cavity formation due to the presence of a shear zone in the escape tunnel. The construction activities were also impacted by huge water ingress. “The dewatering system for more than 4 KM-long tunnel in downward gradient was extremely challenging. The increase in the length of the tunnel meant more water inside. Dewatering arrangements for such a long tunnel having a head of 40M was daunting,” Dixit said.

Despite numerous challenges the breakthrough of the tunnel was achieved in February this year, and thanks to the incredible efforts of Afconians and other engineers, T49 will very soon be a matter of pride for the nation and the Indian Railways.

T49 Highlights

  • T49 is the longest railway tunnel in the country
  • The tunnel is 12.75 KM long and surpasses the Peer Panjal Tunnel (11.2 KM) 
  • It is part of the USBRL project 
  • Breakthrough of the tunnel was achieved on Feb 15, 2022
  • Afcons has constructed 7.32KM (nearly 60%) of the total tunnel
  • Afcons has constructed the tunnel from the north portal which is at an altitude of 1,600M

WR Mumbai stations generating their own power

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Solar Plants 1
Solar Plants 1

Taking forward the commitment of Energy Saving & Environment Conservation,Western Railway is taking giant strides in the path towards Green Railway & Clean Railway. In this direction, WR has installed Solar Plants at various railway stations & service office buildings which generates clean energy and also resulted in savings on energy bills.

Solar Plants
Solar Plants 1

According to Sumit Thakur – Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, moving ahead with the mission to have a Clean & Green Railway, Western Railway has adopted several initiatives to curb pollution and to reduce carbon emissions.

One such initiative is the installation of Solar Plants at railway stations & at office buildings. Solar Plants of 6635 KWp capacity have been installed at 97 railway stations over WR while Solar Plants of 3920.48 kW capacity have been installed at over 46 railway office buildings. In the year 2021–22, 7553178 units (KWh) of green energy have been generated by these solar plants, thus resulting in savings of more than Rs. 3 crore on energy bill on account of difference in per unit cost of energy supplied by Electricity Boards Vis-à-vis cost of energy generated by solar plants.

The cumulative savings for the year 2022-23 is Rs. 2.15 crore, including the savings of Rs. 30.22 lakh in the month of October 2022. In Mumbai Central Division of Western Railway, 3619241 kWh were generated in the year 2021 -22 resulting in savings of Rs.1.49 crore. In the current year, 2572790 kWh were generated up to October 2022 resulting in savings of Rs. 1.11 crore.

Thakur further informed that at smaller stations the energy generated from Solar Plants are utilized to run the electrical equipment at stations such as lights, fans, computers & even the street lighting in the circulating areas. At major stations, the energy generated is transmitted to the electricity grid and the electric bill is generated on metered billing.

107-year-old heritage tower of Matunga Carriage and Wagon lost

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cut out
cut out

The Central Railway has shockingly pulled down the 107-year-old heritage tower building of Matunga Carriage and Wagon workshop in Mumbai that housed its offices and entry exit set up to make way for new swanky building.
Central Railway refuted the allegations and said the building was beyond life and had to go. “The building was not in the city heritage list and the structure had become very unsafe. It was important to raze it for safety. We will try and save any relics if possible,” Central Railway chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said.
The old three-storey stone building had thatched roof and wooden pillar ceilings, typical of early 20th architecture.
In February 2022, the Central Railway had similarly pulled down the earliest power sub-station building at Kurla, one of the last remaining vestiges of the industrial heritage of the country’s first electric railway. The workshop upgrade has now led to the loss of another such old building.
Built in 1915 by the old Great Indian Peninsula Railway company, the workshop was set up as a repair house for broad gauge and narrow-gauge coaches and wagons on a triangular piece of land skirted by the Central Railway suburban corridors on the east and the Western Railway corridors on the west.
A place of national importance, the Matunga workshop has been helpful during both the first and second world wars manufacturing shells and converting coaches for military movements, supply of food grains & other ancillary supplies. The workshop also many firsts to its credit.
Lamenting the damage of heritage, city heritage experts said that the railways have some of the exceptional heritage buildings in the city and that they should try and preserve them. “A wonderful old building which should be preserved will be lost forever  Railways should have more taste for heritage than others it is a pity,” said city historian Deepak Rao said.

cut out
cut out

Fault lines on the 164-year-old Carnac bridge Mumbai

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Bearings‐Crushed Bottom Flange‐Corroded Pitted Loss of Section
Bearings‐Crushed Bottom Flange‐Corroded Pitted Loss of Section

With the opening of Hancock Bridge at Sandhurst Road, the BMC and the railways are now set to demolish the Carnac Bunder bridge. But does the bridge really need to go or can it be salvaged. Mid-Day accessed the IIT-B report that details its condition and has found out that the bridge is in a very derelict condition as per the report and has listed 10 key fault points due to which the bridge needs to be shut immediately.

Bearings‐Crushed Bottom Flange‐Corroded Pitted Loss of Section
Bearings‐Crushed Bottom Flange‐Corroded Pitted Loss of Section

After the over 150-year-old bridge had been flagged as “dangerous” by IIT Bombay in their audit few years ago with recommendations of immediate closure as it had become a danger for the busy rail traffic passing below, the traffic police had put restrictions on heavy vehicular traffic on the bridge.  Despite several pleas by railways, the BMC and traffic police delayed shutting down the bridge completely till the Hancock Bridge was opened last week. Now with permissions from the BMC and the traffic police, the bridge is set to go any day. Here is what the IIT report says.

In engineering terms, two major components of any huge structure are the sub-structure and super-structure. The sub-structure is the part of the building that is underneath the ground, while the super-structure is everything that is above ground. The IIT-B report lists about seven major fault points in the sub-structure, including vegetation growth, cracked surfaces and even loss of parts of the bridge and about three in the supers-structure, finding corrosion and perforations in the main girders, rusted crash barriers at the bottom, with a recommendation that the super-structure shall be demolished “on priority”

Sub‐Structure – Column Gussets – Corroded Pitted
Sub‐Structure – Column Gussets – Corroded Pitted

Sub-Structure:

1.     Vegetation growth is observed in stone masonry.

2.     Pointing eroded from stone masonry joints

3.     Bed block has cracks & honeycombing is observed on concrete surface

4.     Pedestals on columns are cracked and damaged.

5.     Columns, bracings, gussets and brackets are heavily corroded and pitted.

6.     Top beams are corroded, pitted and loss of section has been observed.

7.     Steel plate bearings are crushed.

Super-Structure:

1.     Main girders and cross girders on both ends of the bridge are heavily corroded, pitted and perforated.

2.     M.S trough below the footpath on either ends of the bridge are heavily corroded and pitted.

3.     Crash barriers are rusted at the bottom.

Bridge history and relics
The bridge has very important markings in three languages, Hindi Gujarati and English with the letters 1868 and name of the bridge carved on plaques on all four sides of the bridge (pics attached). The bridge was built about 30 years after a road came up at the location and was built by ‘Bhau’ an Indian entrepreneur Laxman Harishchandra Ajinkya in the 1840s while he was constructing one of the first wharf and basins of Bombay along the eastern shore. A wharf by his name Bhaucha Dhakka off Mazgaon is still famous in his name. The railways would try and see what they could do with the old plaques if they could be embedded into the new bridge design or brought to the heritage galleries.

India’s first all-aluminium freight rail wagons

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image001IT6M
image001IT6M
COMPANY NOTERAILWAY NOTE
BHUBANESWAR: October 16, 2022 Hindalco today launched India’s first all-aluminium freight rail rakes, helping fast-track the country’s ambitious plan to modernise freight transportation and enable large carbon savings for Indian Railways. The gleaming rakes are 180 tonnes lighter than existing steel rakes, can carry 5-10% more payload, consume less energy with relatively negligible wear and tear to rolling stock and rails.
Flagging off the new 61-wagon rake from Bhubaneswar station, which will carry coal for Hindalco’s Aditya Smelter in Lapanga, Odisha, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, said, “This is a proud moment for the country and our drive for indigenization as these lightweight aluminium wagons are a big innovation for Indian Railways. “These wagons save 14,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, have more carrying capacity, consume less energy and are corrosion-resistant. They are 100% recyclable and even after 30 years, they will be as good as new. These aluminium wagons will enable us to achieve our climate goals,” he adds.
The bottom discharge aluminium freight wagon, specifically designed to carry coal, is tipped to reduce the carbon footprint measurably. For every 100 kg weight reduction of the wagon, the lifetime CO2 saving is 8-10 tonnes. This translates to a saving of more than 14,500 tonnes of CO2 for a single rake. With the Railways planning to deploy more than one lakh wagons in the coming years, the potential annual CO2 reduction could be to the tune of over 25 lakh tonnes, with say 15 – 20% shift to aluminium wagons  – a notable contribution to the country’s sustainability goals.
Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries said, “The launch of the India’s first aluminium freight rake is a testimony to our capability and commitment to offer smart and sustainable solutions for nation building. Hindalco is steadfast in bringing together the best of global technologies with local resources to make Indian Railways’ logistics more efficient and contribute to the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.”   The new generation wagons, fabricated by M/S BESCO based on RDSO-approved design are made from high strength aluminium alloy plates and extrusions, indigenously made at Hindalco’s state-of-the-art rolling facility in Hirakud, Odisha with extrusions from the company’s Renukoot plant in UP, leveraging its global technology. These all-aluminium rakes offer 19% higher payload to tare weight ratio, which will have a transformative impact on the Railways’ logistics and operational efficiency. The freight sector in India is expected to grow at more than 7% CAGR to 15-billion tonnes by 2050, with the energy-efficient and eco-friendly Railways expected to notably increase its volume share from the current 18%. Hindalco is also planning to participate in manufacturing of aluminium coaches for high-speed passenger trains. Aluminium trains command a lion’s share in the United States, Europe and Japan because of attributes such as sleek, aerodynamic designs and their ability to tilt at high speeds without going off the rails.   Aluminium is the preferred choice for metro trains worldwide for their durability and most importantly – passenger safety, as it has improved crashworthiness or superior crash absorption capability. Indian Railways have already announced their plans to make aluminium bodied Vande Bharat train sets. Hindalco is committed to bring in this revolutionary change in India and is engaged in discussions with the global partners to set up conducive ecosystem in India.
Posted On: 16 OCT 2022 3:57PM by PIB Delhi Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw inaugurated India’s First Aluminum Freight Rake – 61 BOBRNALHSM1 at Bhubaneswar Railway Station today. The rake’s destination is Bilaspur. This is a dedicated effort for Make in India program as it has been fully designed and developed indigenously in collaboration with RDSO, HINDALCO and Besco Wagon.

Features of Aluminium Rake: Fully Lockbolted construction with no welding on superstructure. The tare is 3.25 tons lower than normal steel rakes, 180 ton extra carrying capacity resulting in higher throughput per wagon. Higher payload to tare ratio 2.85. The reduced tare will reduce carbon footprint as lower consumption of fuel in empty direction and more transport of freight in loaded condition. A single rake can save over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. 80% is resale value of the rakes. Cost is 35% higher as the superstructure is all aluminium. Lower maintenance cost due to higher corrosion and abrasion resistance.

Iron industry consumes a lot of Nickel and Cadmium which comes from import. So, proliferation of Aluminium wagons will result in less import. At the same time, this is good for local aluminium industry.
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The story of Carnac demolition: A rivetted 19th century bridge with lime mortar

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20220914 222845
IMG 20220914 153812 1

RAJENDRA B AKLEKAR

Saving the old plaques. A visit with railway engineers to the under-demolition 164-year-old Carnac Bunder bridge near Mumbai CSMT yielded some fascinating facts. The heavy and rivetted structure is not easy to be cut up and will take a lot of time and skilful work to complete it, keeping the railway lines under it running 24×7. Those days every rivet was calculated equivalent to the weight it will be able to carry and hold the structure.

IMG 20220913 220948
Near the lime mortar duct
IMG 20220913 220836
Understanding the process

The rivetted plates are just like deftly sewn borders on a cloth piece. A huge amount of meticulous planning, specialised cutters, equipment and lots of patience will be required to carry out the task of bringing down this massive structure.

IMG 20220914 WA0002
A selfie with the historic plaque

The bridge has the century-old lime mortar inside the ducts and channels adding to the strength of the floor bed, which needs to be slowly and carefully chiselled out. The bridge has plaques dated 1858 and 1868, probably the year of beginning the construction and its year of completion, which we are trying to salvage.

The bridge was built about 30 years on a road that originally came up in the 1840s built by an Indian Laxman Harishchandra Ajinkya while he was constructing one of the first wharf and basins of Bombay along the eastern shore.

After the over 160-year-old bridge had been flagged as “dangerous” by IIT Bombay in their audit few years ago with recommendations of immediate closure as it had become a danger for the busy rail traffic passing below, the traffic police had put restrictions on heavy vehicular traffic on the bridge. Despite several pleas by railways, the BMC and traffic police delayed shutting down the bridge completely till the Hancock Bridge was opened last week. Now with permissions from the BMC and the traffic police, the bridge is set to go. Here is what the IIT report says. In engineering terms, two major components of any huge structure are the sub-structure and super-structure. The sub-structure is the part of the building that is underneath the ground, while the super-structure is everything that is above ground. The IIT-B report lists about seven major fault points in the sub-structure, including vegetation growth, cracked surfaces and even loss of parts of the bridge and about three in the supers-structure, finding corrosion and perforations in the main girders, rusted crash barriers at the bottom, with a recommendation that the super-structure shall be demolished “on priority”

Akola boy makes real-life replicas of bus models

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WhatsApp Image 2022 04 02 at 1.34.09 PM 2
WhatsApp Image 2022 04 02 at 1.34.09 PM 2

These precision-oriented models of Maharashtra State Road Transport  Corporation (MSRTC), one of the biggest bus fleets in India, are hand-made by Akola-based Piyush Patil.

“It takes 24 days to make one bus. I have to keep in mind the smallest of things, like side-mirrors, door handles, windows, opening and closing of doors, depot numbers,” Patil told Script24x7.

“My only intention is to make a precise replica of all the fading bus models so that they are documented for the next generations as such buses will never be made ever again in real life as technology changes,” Patil said.

How to build a bullet train? India’s first HSR comes up with novel techniques

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Picture5
Picture5

For Launching of Full Span Pre-Stressed Box Girder (40 m) weighing 970 MT, Four heavy equipment are used

1 – Straddle Carrier; 2- Bridge Gantry; 3-Girder Transporter; 4-Launching Gantry

The details of the Equipment and their use is as under:

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Picture2
  • To expedite the construction of #MAHSR viaduct, NHSRCL is adopting Full Span Launching Method (FSLM). Straddle carrier is used to handle the Full Span Precast Box Girders. After casting, Straddle Carrier lifts the girder from casting bed and transport it till the stacking yard. Further, it feeds the girder from stacking yard to Bridge Gantry for erection over Piers.  
  • This is a tyre-mounted self-propelled equipment weighing approx. 620 MT having a lifting capacity of 1100MT.

#MAHSR #ConstructionUpdate

Picture3
Picture3
  • Bridge Gantry is a type of crane, which is deployed in a set of two weighing 425 MT each, for lifting of full span box girder from ground till Pier top. It also feeds the girder to the Girder Transporter for subsequent launching of girders using Launching Gantry.

#MAHSR #ConstructionUpdate

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Picture4
  • Girder Transporter is a 27 axle tyre-mounted (i.e.216 numbers of wheels) self-propelled trolley with carrying capacity of 1100MT. Girder transporter weighs approx. 390 MT.

#MAHSR #ConstructionUpdate

Picture5
Picture5
  • Girder transporter is used to transport precast girders (40 m span) over the already erected girders and it feeds the girders to the Launching gantry for erection over the Piers.

#MAHSR #ConstructionUpdate

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Picture6
Picture7
Picture7
  • Launching Gantry is used to lift the precast girders from the girder transporter & place them at a predefined position over the Piers. Launching Gantry then moves forwards to repeat the sequence for subsequent full span girder erection. Launching Gantry weighs approx. 540 MT and handling capacity of 1100 MT.

#MAHSR #ConstructionUpdate

World Heritage Site of Mumbai CSMT, formerly Bombay Victoria Terminus, most popular film shoot locale

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Mumbai CSMT 1
Mumbai CSMT 1

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, formerly Bombay Victoria Terminus, continues to be the most preferred film shooting location for film makers, 4 films were shot at this UNESCO World Heritage Railway station including a film starring Arshad Warsi & Chitrangada Singh titled ‘Moder Love – Cutting Chai’. The other film shooting locations were the second most popular old Wadi Bunder yard, Adarki railway station near Satara, Yeola, Kanhegaon stations between Manmad & Ahmednagar, Dadar, Mulund  RPF ground and  the attractive hill stations for Mumbaikars, the Matheran Railway station.

Mumbai CSMT 1
World Heritage Site Mumbai CSMT

Anil Kumar Lahoti, General Manager said, “Thanks to our  popular locations like Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Railway Station, the old Wadi Bunder yard, Wathar (near Satara) and the Apta station (in Panvel area) and also the initiatives to grant permission without any hassles to the production houses enabled Central Railway to earn record  revenue from film shoots.”

Shivaji Sutar, Chief Public Relations Officer said “Many box office hit films were shot over Central Railway like Slum Dog Millionaire, Kaminey, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Ra-one, Raavan, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo,  Dilwale Dulaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dabangg, Darbaar, Rang de Basanti, Baaghi, Khaki, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, and many others hit films were shot over the years.”

The most preferred film shooting location were Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and other popular stations like Apta, Panvel, Lonavala, Khandala, Wathar, Satara and railway yards like Turbhe and Wadi bunder.

The permission for the film shooting is granted by the Public Relations Department of Central Railway, recently to expedite the film shooting permission, a single window system has been introduced, this simplification of the procedure will enable the film companies to obtain permission after submission of the necessary documents along with the script and application mentioning the requirements.

Central Railway has earned over Rs 2.48 crore in this financial year 2021-22 by offering its various premises and rail coaches for film shootings. This is the highest ever revenue earned by Central Railway in any financial year. Around 10 films were shot that includes 6 feature films, two web series, one short film and an advertisement at different Central Railway locations by various filmmakers and production houses.

Central Railway earned highest revenue of Rs. 1.27 crore from the feature film ‘2 Brides’ shot at Yeola, Kanhegaon stations with Shooting Special Train for 18 days. Another feature film shot at Adarki Railway Station with Special train for 9 days fetched Rs. 65.95 lakhs. Despite covid restrictions in the initial 6 months of this financial year,  Central Railway with its seamless process attracted production houses to use its location for film shooting and generated this record revenue.

The revenue earned of Rs. 2.48 crores this financial year is the highest ever from Film Shooting by Central Railway surpassing the previous highest generated in the year 2013-14 of 1.73 crore. Despite stringent covid restrictions during last financial year i.e 2020-21, the revenue earned was Rs. 41.16 lakhs.

All set for Japanese Shinkansen rail tracks to arrive in India

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Training Track in Vadodara
Training Track in Vadodara

Rajendra B. Aklekar

rajendraa (at) gmail.com
The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited on Friday signed an agreement with IRCON International Limited for design, supply and construction of track and track related works for Double Line High Speed Railway (237 Km between Vadodara and Vapi in the state of Gujarat) for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor (MAHSR T-2 Package).

Training Track in Vadodara
Training track at Vadodara, Gujarat

The ballast-less slab Track system as used in Japanese HSR (Shinkansen) will be used on India’s first HSR project (MAHSR). Japan Railway Track Consultant Co. Limited (JRTC) has provided the detailed design and drawing of major HSR track components like RC Track bed, Track slab arrangement and continuous welded rail (CWR) forces etc. for the contract.

The contract will boost the Make in India initiative as an Indian company IRCON International Limited has been awarded the contract. The agreement signing ceremony was attended by Managing Director, NHSRCL Satish Agnihotri along with other directors, Miyamoto Shingo Minister (Economic & Development), Embassy of Japan in India, Saito Mitsunori, Chief Representative, JICA (India Office). Yogesh Kumar Mishra, Managing Director, IRCON International Limited, along with other senior officers from NHSRCL, IRCON, JICC, JRTC and JARTS.

Speaking on the occasion, Satish Agnihotri, Managing Director, NHSRCL said “We have received support from JICA in a very effective manner. I appreciate the technical support extended by JICC, JARTS and JRTC for MAHSR project.”

Minister Economic and Development, Embassy of Japan in India, Shri Miyamoto Shingo called Mumbai-Ahmedabad High speed Rail project as the biggest and most brightly shining example of cooperation between India and Japan. “Under this contract Indian contractors will receive transfer of Japanese Shinkansen technology which will give a big boost to Make in India initiative.” he further added.

Saito Mitsunori, Chief Representative, JICA India said “The Track works is a crucial part of railway safety and comfortable ride in Shinkansen technology. Track work contract will offer a unique opportunity for Indian companies to work with Japanese agencies who have expertise in Shinkansen technology.”

Rajendra Prasad, Director Project, NHSRCL said “The Shinkansen technology has unpanelled record of safety and track plays a very important role in the safety of train running. It is an excellent example of transfer of technology, as Japanese experts will come to India to provide training to Indian supervisors and workers involved in Track work.