Along with a variety of other things you may be surprised to learn about India, there is about to be an incredible feat of engineering to add to your list of reasons to visit (or re-visit): a super fast, underwater bullet train.
The Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is set to start by the end of 2018. Not only will it be the first high-speed railway in the country, the new bullet train will travel underwater for 13 miles (21 kilometres) as part of the 315-mile (506 km) journey between the two cities. Even more impressive, the fastest train trip between these two points is currently the Duronto Express which takes seven hours; the new bullet trains will cut the travel time down to two hours.
In order to reach their ambitious goal of the route becoming operational one year earlier than originally planned as to align the inauguration with the 75th year of India’s Independence, passengers can expect to start travelling as of August 2022.
To assist with this goal, India is purchasing 18 bullet trains from Japan to defer costs in time and local production. For 70 billion rupees (approximately $964 million USD) each of the trains will include 10 coaches, will be able to travel 217 miles (350 km) per hour, and will follow Japan’s safety-conscious designs that include automatic protection systems.
The cost of the entire project is estimated at 97.6 billion rupees, or $14.5 billion USD. 80% of the funding is coming from loans from Japan and the company which operates their bullet train route from Tokyo to Osaka. It includes possible price increases as well as variables, interest, and import fees.
Estimates suggest 18,000 passengers will be using the route, and there will be different fare classes available.The route will have 12 stations between the two cities: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
Other benefits include the creation of 20,000 jobs and indirect employment for an additional 16,000.
Indian Railways are aiming to acquire land by December 2018 in order to start working on the project in January 2019, and the government has already secured some funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.