Changing the way we travel
First step for us would be to bring down the usage of locomotive hauled trains and go for more trainsets which signifies the requirement of technologically superior modern trains. These could be put to use in distances ranging from 500 to 600 kilometres in particular.
S Vishnu Sharmaa, INN/Chennai, @Infodeaofficial
More Train 18s are the need of the hour
Time has come for Indian Railways to revamp its services to retain its hold on the passenger market. Revamping should have a multipronged approach, with a special focus on speed. Aspect of increasing acceleration has a special place for semi-speed and high-speed trains.
We need more semi high-speed Train 18s on our railway tracks so that passengers can reach their destinations in time less than what it currently takes. Technological marvel from Chennai based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) has achieved a speed-limit of 180 kmph during trial run. This may not be enough, but it is a good beginning.
First step for us would be to bring down the usage of locomotive hauled trains and go for more trainsets which signifies the requirement of technologically superior modern trains. These could be put to use in distances ranging from 500 to 600 kilometers in particular.
It would not be easy for a locomotive hauled train to pick up speed after haulting at stations, a trainset is capable of resuming its journey with full pace after a brief stop at the station. One can never forget the competition arising from airline industry, Indian Railways is said to have been losing passengers to the aviation transport in our country.
While various surveys have pointed out that Indian Railways passenger growth has come down by 0.26 percent every year in the last couple of years, it is in the same time that travelers opting for plane travel is said to have increased by 10 percent per year. Increase in speed of our trains will bring customers back to railways. Perhaps introducing Train 18 is right step in the direction of commencing high speed services.
We should be able to travel in less time from any destination in our country, say railway experts. Take the distance of Chennai to New Delhi for example, the slowest train (Andaman Express) takes 41 hours and 45 minutes to cover the distance of 2206 kilometres, fastest train (Chennai Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express) takes 27 hours and 55 minutes to cover the distance of 2175 kilometers.
It takes such a longtime in India even now. Our neighbor China did manage to bid good bye to such slow travel decades ago. Take the distance between Shangai and Beijing for example, a 1,318 kilometer journey is presently covered in 4 hours and 48 minutes by high speed train that travels at 299 kilometers per hour.
Such a travel did not materialise overnight for the dragon country. Lot of things underwent a change there, their railway system undwent six rounds of reformation. This involved upgrade of tracks that can withstand greater speeds, modernizing their signal systems, improvements in grade (tunnels and bridges) and so on.
These reformations enabled them to increase speed of normal trains and subsequently introduce high speed trains. Prior to reforms, trains ran only at speed of 48 kilometers per hour in China, passenger market there was being lost to the airlines. But post reformation, different picture exists there, currently even passenger trains travel at a speed of more than 70 kilometers per hour, when their Indian counterparts still have a speed of 45 kilometers per hour.
Travel in a semi-high speed train like Train 18 can reduce the journey time by about 45 percent in a long route like Chennai to New Delhi. For, this techno-wonder can travel at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour. We need to spend more on bettering our railway infrastructure on a breakneck speed like what our neighbor China did, if the desire is for more Train 18s on our tracks.
Various sources point out that, from 2009 onwards till now, the dragon country is said to have spent more than two percent of its GDP on railways, but India is said to have spent about 0.4 percent during the same time. That spend has to enhance if we wish betterment in train travel.