Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently said that India’s first bullet train will run in the country from 2023, thereby heralding a new era in Indian Railways in the Indian subcontinent. The bullet train, which is proposed between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is expected to pass through a long 21km undersea tunnel. Though most part of the 508km long corridor will be on an elevated track, the stretch after Thane creek towards Virar will pass through a tunnel built under the sea. The 508 km distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected to be covered within two hours as the train will run at an estimated maximum speed of 350 km per hour.
The ambitious and first-of-its-kind project in India is likely to cost a whopping Rs 97,636 crore. This includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction as well as import duties. Alignment of the corridor is almost finalized and around 81% of the funding will come from Japan. Early this week, railways has informed National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited to go head with this much awaited project. A study supporting the Bullet Train Project stated that the train should provide 100 trips a day to cater to as much as 43 million residents of the country.
At the same time, Ministry of Railways has proposed a tariff for the upcoming bullet train. The bullet train fare is said to be 1.5 times more than the current first class AC fare of express trains. For example, at present, First Class travel by Duronto Express between Mumbai and Ahmedabad costs Rs.2,200. The same distance via dedicated high-speed corridor covered by the bullet train will cost around Rs. 3,300. In Japan, a similar bullet train ride between Tokyo and Osaka measuring a distance of 550 km costs Rs.8,500.
Countries like Japan and China already have express trains that run under water. Now, incorporation of such a means of transport in India will definitely bring pride to the nation and make inter-state travel hassle free.