India starts drilling for its first undersea bullet train

Drills for India’s first bullet train has begun, according to reports. Construction of the 7-kilometres (about 4.3 miles) undersea rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmadabad in western India is slated to begin in 2018.

The drilling will help ascertain soil conditions under water. “Soil and rocks below the 70-meter-deep see are being tested as part of the geo-technical and geo-physical investigation undertaken for the entire project,” a senior Railway Ministry official reportedly said. 

Estimated to cost about Rs 97.6 billion ($14.5 billion), 80% of the project’s funding will come by way of a loan from Japan that operates the Shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka. India will replicate that system. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who traveled to Japan last year traveled in the Shinkansen bullet train alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan’s decision to give virtually free finance for Modi’s pet program is reportedly part of its broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years. 

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Currently it takes about seven hours to travel between the Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the bullet train aims to reduce it to about two hours. Construction of the corridor is expected to be completed by 2023 provided it starts next year.

As always, Twitter users had quite a few cents to spare on the topic.

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