Patna: The proposed bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will be made fully operational by 2023, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said on Friday. Some sections of the high speed, 500km route will, however, become operational in 2022 itself, he said.

“Bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will be made fully operational by 2023, while it will be made operational on some sections in 2022. We are moving ahead as per our plan on the project," Lohani told reporters in Patna. The Railways will be using the latest technology for the project, he said.

Lohani, who was accompanied by East Central Railway (ECR) general manager L.C. Trivedi and other senior officials, is in Patna to take part in the 63rd Regional Railway Week. On former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s suggestion that the money being spent on the bullet train project could have been utilised for improving passenger amenities, Lohani said, “A decision has been taken on bullet train and we are moving ahead with it."

In September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe launched the ambitious project entailing a total cost of around Rs1.10 lakh crore. Japan is extending a loan of Rs88,000 crore for the project at a minimal interest of 0.1%. The country’s first bullet train will run at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour, covering the stretch in under three hours from the usual seven. The train will halt at 12 stations, out of which four will be in Maharashtra.

“We have got the Japanese technology on which bullet train is being run since 1965 in Japan and no accidents have taken place since then," he said. On the issue of cost involved in the project, he said “there will not be any financial burden on us as it is a very soft funding."