Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BAREILLY: A sleek design with aluminium coaches powered by double engines — one each on the front and rear—and each coach with individual backup power, besides cruising speeds of up to 250 kmph will be among the highlights of high-speed trains to be introduced in the country shortly.

Sharing some of the details with TOI, a key member of a 30-member team of divisional railway managers (DRMs) which went on a 15-day training session at SDA Bocconi school of Management in Milan, Italy, said, "High-speed trains are the future of Indian transport industry and, once introduced, would give a tough time to domestic airliners as they are giving in countries like Italy, where they are preferred modes of commutation instead of airlines."

DRM of Izzat Nagar division, Bareilly, Chandra Mohan Jindal, who attended the course said, "There is no doubt that the first high-speed train in the country will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and the distance of 500 km will be covered be covered in 2 hours. To give us a feel of this, we were taken on a high-speed train from Italy to Milan, a distance of 700 km, by rail. We reached our destination within 3 hours, with the Italian train cruising at an average speed of 250 km per hour."

However, a lot needs to be done before going ahead with the project, said the railway officials. New tracks have to be laid. Advanced automatic signalling systems have to be introduced with no manual controls, as it is key to the success of high-speed trains in US and Europe. "In this connection we inspected the workshop of an Italian signal manufacturing company, El Saldo, to study the system," said Jindal.

The DRM said these trains would have specially designed lightweight coaches made of thin aluminium sheets. Each train will have a maximum of 8 coaches attached to engines in the front and rear. Each train will ferry 500 passengers at a time. "Every coach will be electrically powered by individual backup to maintain the speed, with a centralized control room set up inside the cabin of the loco pilot. We held talks with a coach manufacturing company, Bombardier, which specializes in manufacturing such coaches," Jindal added.

The DRM said in Italy high-speed trains are the preferred mode of transport instead of airlines because it takes longer to travel to the airport and then by air than it does to take the train between cities. "Earlier two-third of travelers used air transport, but now the situation is reserved, with more train travelers than air travellers in Italy," Jindal added.

In India a Japanese company has already conducted the survey of train route between Ahmedabad and Mumbai and if the government gives its nod, high-speed trains would soon become a reality even though the initial investment will be a whopping Rs 60,000 crore. At present the highest speed by an Indian train is the Agra-Delhi Shatabdi Express, which makes 130 kmph.

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