India is about to get its first bullet train, and it is unlike everything that you have ever seen before! The 7-kilometre (about 4.3 miles) rail will be an underwater track stretching from Mumbai to Ahmadabad in western India, making it a one of its kind project for the region.
The drilling project, which is slated to begin in 2018, will help determine the soil conditions under water. A senior Railway Ministry official reportedly said,
“Soil and rocks below the 70-meter-deep see are being tested as part of the geo-technical and geo-physical investigation undertaken for the entire project”
The project is estimated to cost around INR 97.6 billion ($14.5 billion), and 80% of it is being funded via a loan from Japan which operates the Shinkansen bullet train zooming between Tokyo and Osaka, with India replicating the same system.
The 508-km corridor will be placed on an elevated rail track, which will prevent any land acquisition issues that could rack up the costs or delay the project. The 21-km underground tunnel will connect Thane to Virar, and the track itself is likely to be located near the Thane Creek. An additional underpass tunnel will allow the area to maintain its lush green cover.
The mega project is a part of Indian-Japanese policy games in the South East Asia. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Japan last year and met the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe while riding the Shinkansen bullet train. Japan has opened its treasures to Modi to reportedly push back against China’s move towards building hegemony in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years.
The travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad using conventional means is currently seven hours, with the bullet train aiming to reduce it to about two hours. The construction is projected to be completed by 2023 given it starts next year.
Indian people have shown some mixed emotions on the announcement,
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