Test drilling starts for India’s first undersea high-speed rail tunnel

Anticipation of futuristic travel rose in India this week with the start of test drilling for a 7-km undersea tunnel for an ambitious high-speed railway planned from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

Contractors will test ground conditions 70m below the Arabian sea near Thane, Maharashtra to see if India’s first undersea rail tunnel for its first high-speed railway, largely funded by Japan, can work.

"Passengers will get the thrill of riding under the sea," commented The Economic Times in reporting the start of testing in preparation for a 21-km-long tunnel, of which 7km will go under water.

One of several high-speed railways planned in India, the 508-km line is planned to cut the journey from the mega city of Mumbai to Ahmedabad in Gujarat from seven hours to just two hours, with trains unning at 320km/h.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is financing around 81% of the estimated $14.6bn cost (Rs 97,636 crore) through a long-term, low-interest loan.

Except for the 21-km-long tunnel, most of the railway is proposed to be on elevated trackways, say reports.

Image: Composite image of an "underwater" train from a YouTube video (YouTube)

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