Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said India's first bullet train will run by 2023, heralding a new era in train operations in the subcontinent.
"In 2023, the first bullet train will run in India. We have already discussed the phases of bullet train project," Prabhu told PTI.
The bullet train is expected to cover 508 kms between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350 kmph and operating speed of 320 kmph.
Work is going on as per the schedule, he said.
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 around Rs 97,636 crore, 81 per cent of the funding for the project will come by way of the loan from Japan. The estimate 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 a 15-year moratorium.
According to the detailed project report proposed by Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), 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 run under the sea.
Rolling stock and other equipment like signalling and power system will 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 have already allotted Rs 200 crore for the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which Maharashtra and Gujarat will have equity of 25 per cent each and the Indian Railways will have 50 per cent.
Asked about other possible routes being taken up for such high-speed trains, Prabhu said studies are being conducted to link various metropolitan cities of the country.