The body in charge of India’s first high-speed railway said Monday it had bought all the 1,400ha of land it needed for the project, and had awarded all civil engineering contracts in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, leaving only the small enclave of Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
Overseen by the National High Speed Rail Corporation, the 508km line will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
It will use Japanese Shinkansen (Bullet Train) technology and is being financed largely by Japanese money.
The project was due to have been completed by December last year, but progress has been stymied by difficulties in acquiring land in Maharashtra.
The original cost estimate of $14bn is thought to have risen to around $20bn.
The corporation said it had also laid 120km of girders, 271km of pier casting and had cast the first reinforced concrete track bed, required by the Japanese Shinkansen system.
It said this last had been completed in the city of Surat, which is roughly half-way between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
The corporation added that the route’s first mountain tunnel, which runs for 350m near the village of Zaroli in Gujarat, had been completed in 10 months.
And the first steel bridge, spanning 70m, was completed in Surat.
Altogether, 16 bridge projects are underway, with another 12 yet to begin.
Another project highlight was the beginning of work on India’s first 7km undersea rail tunnel which is a part of 21km long tunnel between Bandra-Kurla Complex and Shilphata in Maharashtra (see further reading).
Work on Mumbai’s high-speed rail station has also started.
The completion date for the complete line is uncertain, but the 352km section through Gujarat will open in 2027, and a 50km stretch between Surat to Bilimora, is expected to become operational in August 2026.