India has reportedly started drilling for its undersea bullet train, paving the way for construction to begin as soon as next year.
The Ecomonic Times reported that the drilling would identify soil conditions for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail corridor, a tunnel spanning more than 4 miles.
“Soil and rocks below the 70-meter-deep see are being tested as part of the geo-technical and geo-physical investigation undertaken for the entire project,” a senior Railway Ministry official told the newspaper.
The bullet is the first underwater train in India and will travel at speeds of up to 350kmh (217mph) under the Arabian sea.
It currently takes around seven hours to travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, but the bullet will cut the journey to just two hours.
Construction is set to cost around £11.7bn and last until 2023, with Japan offering to fund 80 per cent of the project at low interest rates.
The loan is intended to help Japan compete with China which is bidding for other projects on the world’s fourth-largest network, Reuters reported.
The drilling survey is set to be followed by the final location survey to determine the alignment and exact spots for the elevated track’s pillars.