Foundation Stone to be Laid Today for the Bullet Train Project
Finally the momentous journey will begin today when at the Sabarmati railway station Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for Bullet Train in India. This is the first official engagement since he landed to a grand reception on Wednesday afternoon. The two leaders will hold summit meetings after the function. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.1 Lakh Crores, PM Modi wants the bullet train to start a year ahead of schedule - on 15 August 2022 - when India completes 75 years of independence.
Japan will fund 81 per cent of the project, nearly Rs. 88,000 crores, in soft loans at an interest rate of 0.1%. The loan will have to be repaid over 50 years. The new train will race between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, carrying 750 passengers. Travel time will be reduced from eight hours to a little over three hours if it stops at all the 12 stations and around two hours if it stops at only four.
The Maharashtra government is still undecided on where the Mumbai terminal would be. The state government this week agreed to spare 9,000 sq metres plot for the station at the Bandra-Kurla Complex on the condition that the railways assess suitability of an alternative site. A greater stretch of this link of 351 km will run through Gujarat and 156 km through Maharashtra.
Upon completion the train would run at an average speed of 250 km per hour and attain a top speed of around 320 km per hour. The train will run at more than double the top speed of the fastest train in India. Of the 508-km stretch, 92 per cent of the route will be elevated, six per cent through a tunnel and the rest on the ground. The high speed train will pass through the country's longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under sea near Thane in Maharashtra.