For us Indians, trains zipping under the sea will no longer be limited to only sci-fi movies or foreign countries.
Almost seven kilometres of the track of an upcoming bullet train project connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad, will be located under the sea near Thane creek, giving travellers the first ever undersea rail experience in India at a speed of 350 km per hour!
As fantastic and impressive as it sounds, the work that is being undertaken to accomplish the ambitious project is nothing less than a gargantuan feat.
“About 7 km of the 21 km long tunnel will be undersea. We need to know the strata which are good enough for the tunnel to cross through,” Achal Khare, who is the Managing Director of National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited, told Zee News.
Every step of the project has been taken forward only after repeated geotechnical and geophysical investigations. The authorities rented special borehole digging equipment from a Japanese company, and have dug nearly 66 boreholes near the creek, with a distance of 250 metres between each borehole.
“The work here can be done only during high tides because the ground is very slushy. So, the working period is limited to only 4-5 hours. It is tough to control the boat along the Central Line which takes people to and fro, so the Japanese have trained one of us to control it,” Khare added.
The estimated cost of the tunnel is marked at ₹ 3,500 crores, while the entire train project is rounded up to be ₹ 1.1 lakh crores. A significant chunk of funding for the project is being loaned by the Japanese government with an investment of ₹88,000 crores at a minimal interest of 0.1 percent. This amount will have to be repaid over a period of 50 years.
The foundational stone of the bullet train project was laid together by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017. The authorities are hopeful that the sea tunnel will be completed by August 15, 2022.