Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train to zoom under sea

New Delhi :  Passengers will get the thrill of their lives riding under the sea while travelling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in the first Bullet Train.

The 508-km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor will have a 21 km long tunnel under the sea, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the public transporter’s ambitious project.

While most part of the corridor is proposed to be on the elevated track, there will be a stretch after Thane creek towards Virar which will be under the sea as per the detailed project report submitted by the JICA.

Estimated to cost about Rs 97,636 crore, 81 per cent of the funding of the project will come by way of a loan from Japan. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties.

It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years’ moratorium, said the official. Rolling stock and other equipment like signalling and power system will be imported from Japan as per the loan agreement. The 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.

According top priority to the first of its kind project, the Railways has formed a National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, a special purpose vehicle with a paid-up capital of Rs 500 crores. A search committee comprising senior government officials, including the Cabinet Secretary, the Chairman Railway Board

and the Secretary DOPT, among others, is on the job currently to select the Managing Director and five directors for the NHSRCL. The Railways has already allotted Rs 200 crore for the SPV. Maharashtra and Gujarat will have equity of 25 per cent each while the Railways will have 50 per cent stake in the SPV.

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. At present, the Duronto Express takes about seven hours to cover the distance between the two financial centres.

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