Ushering in a new era in high-speed rail operations, India’s first bullet train will run in the country in 2023.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the ministry has already discussed the phases of the project.
The bullet train is expected to cover 508 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350 kmph and operating speed of 320 kmph.
According to the detailed project report proposed by Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), the route will also have a 21 km long tunnel under the sea. The stretch after Thane creek towards Virar will go under the sea.
The project is estimated to cost about Rs 97,636 crore, with 81 per cent of the funding coming through a loan from Japan. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties. For the funding, Japan will give a soft loan for 50 years to India at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years’ moratorium.
The loan agreement with Japan is slated to be signed by the end of the year and construction work is likely to begin by the end of 2018.
Railways has already allotted Rs 200 crore for the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which Maharashtra and Gujarat will have equity of 25 per cent each and the Indian Railways will have 50 per cent.
Prabhu said studies are also being conducted to link various metropolitan cities of the country.
Meanwhile, a report by JICA has suggested running of 70 trains per day in the first year to cater to traffic volumes of 12 million as part of its operational plan. On the other hand, a recent IIM Ahemdabad study, which has supported Bullet Train Project, said that Bullet Train will require 100 trips per day to cater to traffic of 43 million.