Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens to Rail Minister Sadananda Gowda's speech as he presents Rail Budget in Parliament
India's first bullet train will run in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said today.
"It is the wish and dream of every Indian that India runs a bullet train as early as possible. Indian Railways is on course to fulfill its long cherished dream. I propose a bullet train on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai sector," Mr Gowda said while presenting the new government's first railway budget in Parliament.
He admitted that the dream comes at a staggering cost of Rs 60,000 crore per train.
"I need to explore the alternative source apart from raising fares," he said.
Many feasibility studies have been conducted for bullet trains on the Mumbai-Ahmedbad route. Currently, the fastest train between the two cities is the Shatabdi Express, which takes nearly seven hours.
The high-speed trains are expected to run at a maximum speed of 320 km per hour.
The minister said other proposed routes for the bullet train services include Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa and Hyderabad-Secunderabad.
Mr Gowda has proposed Rs.100 crore to develop infrastructure for bullet trains, but the Railway Board says it is only a fraction of the investment needed for the project said to be close to the Prime Minister's heart. The promise of a high-speed network was a key campaign promise of Mr Modi and his BJP, which came to power in May after a decisive election victory.
Mr Modi had also announced a diamond quadrilateral of bullet trains to connect the four major cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. The trains on these routes will have a speed of about 160km-200km per hour, the railway minister said.
The ageing railways remain the main mode of long-distance travel for most of India's 1.2 billion people, despite fierce competition from airlines.