India’s government just announced that it will purchase 18 E5 series Shinkansen train sets from Japan, for $964 million USD. These trains would be able to move at speeds of 217 miles per hour, reducing travel time considerably. The first bullet train route is likely to run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in just two or three hours, instead of the current seven to eight-hour journey.
But the most intriguing part of this train isn’t the speed at all. It’s the prospect of getting to travel underwater for part of the journey — from Thane Creek to Virar — through a submerged corridor. Economy fares are expected to cost around $41, according to the Economic Times, with first class featuring amenities on par with airlines.
The project is being funded by a loan of $12 billion from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, who is apparently more than happy to spread the tech love. As part of the Make in India program, to encourage domestic companies to manufacture goods in India, the deal also includes plans for the construction of a new local manufacturing plant.
While the project may sound perfect, Business Insider India reported that landowners in Gujarat and Maharashtra are demanding government jobs and higher compensation in exchange for use of their land. Pending the resolution of this issue, construction could begin on the new trains and railways by January 2019, with a projected completion date of 2022.