Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday made a public announcement that the first bullet train in India will run in 2023. "In 2023, the first bullet train will run in India. We have already discussed the phases of bullet train project," Prabhu said.
The bullet train is expected to cover the distance of approx. 500 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, at a speed of 350 kmph and operating speed of 320 kmph. Work is going on as per the schedule, he added. Passengers will get the thrill of riding under the sea while travelling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad on the first bullet train of the country. The 508 km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor will have a 21 km tunnel under the sea.
Estimated to cost upto Rs 97,636 crore, 81% of the funding for the project will be recieved in a form of loan from Japan. The estimate includes cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties. It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1% annual interest with a 15- year moratorium.
According to report proposed by Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), apart from the elevated area there will also be a stretch after Thane creek towards Virar which will run under the sea. Apart from the money, rolling stock and other equipment like signalling and power system will also be imported from Japan as per the loan agreement. An official said 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% each and the Indian Railways will have 50%. Suresh Prabhu also said that studies are being conducted to link various metropolitan cities of the country, when asked about other possible routes.