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Is High Speed Rail at 300+ kph Economically Viable for India

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Yes
39% (11 votes)
No
61% (17 votes)
Total votes: 28

Comments

silkboard's picture

Need more details

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300 kph speed rail itself is not enough to answer this poll. Train is a tool, whats more important are the usage scenarios, or the so called "use cases". If you are talking High Speed from MG Road to the airport, with usage restricted to air travellers, then the answer perhaps is no - not feasible. But if we are talking High Speed from Bangalore to Shimoga, Bellary, Hassan or Mysore, I would say yes. It should be possible to make Mass transport based connectivity economically feasible in our densely populated country.

Now, the other question is about the cost of 300 kph technology? Why 300 kph, will going down to 200 kph still keep it useful and increase feasibility.

Anyway, I voted yes.

silkboard's picture

Didn't realize

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... that this poll resulted form http://bangalore.praja.in...

idontspam's picture

Perspectives

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Since there may not be data to back up the answer on economic viability, this question should be reprashed "Do you FEEL you need a 300+KMPH service which is more comfortable and can connect cities in Karnataka faster than currently done by IR, assuming it doesnt cost more than any other service to provision this?" Let us express need and then look at ways of making it happen cost effectively

Secondly, if this poll is a meant to be a conclusion to this thread then we are sadly missing a lot of other points made in my post there. Let us go back to the thread and visualize the scenario I have painted there. What it means to Bangalore, its transportation plan. Does this give us a perspective of the alternatives involved and show us the imperative of what and how much we need from IR. How does it link to how our transport should look in 2020.

silkboard's picture

Writing out our visions

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How about we have a round of all of us here writing just the vision - how do we want the transportation scene to be? Write only the "what" aspect, just leave the how to get there part out. No ideologies, privatization socialism etc, just our vision for how we want to get from bangalore city to yeswantpur, nellamangala, tumkur, or hassan - basically cover local, suburban and itra city transportaion vision for the state.
Vasanth's picture

We feel the need .. But there are lot of pending things

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Well, everyone wants to travel faster. Who doesn't wish not to travel on an ICE or Eurostar or Maglev trains within Karnataka or within India. But, there are lot of other things which have to be addressed first by Railways. Once these things are addressed which are residing as it is from decades, then high speed rails can also be explored.

Leasing out tracks to private party will not work out, it is not the rolling stock that we are lacking, it is the track infrastructure. For instance the rolling stock running for the Shatabdi Mysore is capable of 150 kph. The WDP4 engine used runs at 150 kph in Konkan Railway, but, it is unable to run at such high speeds in Bangalore-Mysore / Bangalore - Tumkur routes. We need new track infrastructure to serve the high speed rail. 

I mean to say we are still not getting what IR is capable of serving and what it is serving to other states.

If  high speed rail is a PPP model without Government funding, let the infrastructure build and run start now itself. When so much rail infrastructure is lagging within Karnataka, we cannot have the Government invest so much on the high speed rail on its own.

Even advanced countries like the US are still lagging in High Speed Rail infrastructure. Companies will not be ready to make such huge investments where returns are not guaranteed.

Starting Airports all over Karnataka and running flights would be more viable who want high speed travel within Karnataka.

 

 

bialterminal's picture

If it is a dedicated link

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If it is a dedicated link for a specific purpose like connection to BIA then no, I don't think
there is enough economic justification.
Here are a couple of links that I had bookmarked when i was reading about HSR
proposals in India a while back -


http://www.iricen.gov.in/...

http://www.thehindubusine...

What I feel would be a better indicator of economic viability of HSR would be to first squeeze out the maximum performance from few of existing shatabdis and rajdhanis on key routes by upgrading the existing infrastructure, eliminate needless politically driven intermediate stops, raise the fares on these trains to break even and recover upgrade costs. If they can sustain good passenger numbers with the increased fares then we can think about HSR which would require totally new infrastructure from the ground up on a wider scale. If there is any country on earth that can pull it off with good quality rail service then it has to be India going by the sheer volume of people travelling by rail.
idontspam's picture

Let me take a shot at this.

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How about we have a round of all of us here writing just the vision - how do we want the transportation scene to be?

My transport vision 2020 for Bengaluru: To achieve an efficient public transport system in an  environmentally and pedestrian friendly manner which enables the public to commute efficiently within and outside the city

This should be enabled through the following strategies

  • A train based public transport backbone to carry large volumes of people thruough densely populated sections.
  • Provisioning of disabled and child friendly pedestrian sidewalks, cross walks and walkways to enable uninterrupted access to facilities
  • A multimodal (bus/tram-train), high frequency, high reach, complementary feeder system to reach areas unconnected by backbone and point to point links not serviced by backbone.
  • Quick connectivity to satellite towns by road and train to enable commute to Bengaluru CBD within timeframes appropriate for work and back
Transmogrifier's picture

My edits and additions to

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My edits and additions to IDS' shot at it:
  • A train based public transport backbone to carry large volumes of people thruough densely populated sections.
  • A multimodal (bus/tram-train), high frequency, high reach, complementary feeder system to reach areas unconnected by backbone and point to point links not serviced by backbone. 
  • Provisioning of disabled and child friendly pedestrian sidewalks, cross walks (surface, elevated or subways) and walkways to enable uninterrupted access to facilities
  • Consistent, scientifically sound traffic engineering standards (traffic management and directional signage, lane widths, turning refuges, intersection design etc.)
  • Quick connectivity to satellite towns by road and train to enable commute to Bengaluru CBD within timeframes appropriate for work and back.
transmogrifier

TM

blrsri's picture

200 or 300 whats the diff?

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Was always amazed by the speed of this train which is currently running..if we can do this..why can we just implement this instead of spending crores extra..

We can still reach hubli in 2 hrs!

Vasanth's picture

It is Delhi Bhopal Shatabdi

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Video shown above is Delhi Bhopal Shatabdi which touches 150 kph. If this kind of service is brought to Karnataka with backup trains to stop in all stations (to withstand from the local oppostion of intermediate cities), it should be far good enough.

Bangalore-Mysore non-stop ordinary train is capable of 1hr 45 minutes, which I personally experienced at initial stages of the broad guage service in ordinary train. This slowed down to 2hr 30 minutes due to stops in intermediate stations especially Mandya and crossings. Now only Shatabdi runs with that timings which is pretty expensive.

 

Transmogrifier's picture

Shatabdi v/s Shinkansen: What's the cost of time?

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blrsri, vasanth and others,

Vasanth, you've hit the nail on the head... even the much touted Bhopal Shatabdi's average speed comes down to 69.52 kmph (courtesy Abhijit Lokre's list of superfast trains, IRFCA) when you add stops (journey time 10hrs). Remove the stops, while keeping the same average speed the same (93kmph) and the journey time comes down to 7.5 hrs. So yes, the key is non-stop service especially on short-haul routes. Upgrading the lines to NDLS-BPL standards (avg speed 90kmph) makes MYS 90 minutes away (city center to city center). Not even the expressway will be able to beat that.

As far as pricing though, IMO Shatabdi pricing is just marginally on the higher side. Quick back of the envelope calculation: s_yajaman paid about Rs 17/km for his Shinkansen journey, SBC-MYS (on the Shatabdi) in comparison is Rs 4.3/km. For 4 times the price, he got 4 times the speed! Interestingly, in addition to a Rs/km I also did a Rs/min calculation :) using JR's excellent Hyperdia search engine for s_yajaman's route. Using Hyperdia's rates, riding the Shinkansen costs Rs 27/min and the Shatabdi Rs 5/min.

Now the harder question... how much do we value time as a culture?

transmogrifier

TM

s_yajaman's picture

TM - thanks + reliving that trip

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TM,

Thanks for that excellent link and your comparisons.  I did not know that my trip was a 305 km trip.  I always thought it was a 250-260 km trip.  So I averaged over 240 kmph for that ride. 

Reliving that trip here. 

This was in Feb 2003 when I was on a business trip to Japan.  I was in Kobe.  There were a few things that I have alwats wanted to do - visit Kyoto, visit Hiroshima and take a ride on the Shinkansen.  I had visited the beautiful city of Kyoto earlier *(check out images of it's railway station here http://www.plasticbamboo.com/wp/wp/wp-content/uploads/ss_kyoto_station.jpg, http://www.greggman.com/japan/kyoto/kyoto-station.jpg ) and so decided to go to Hiroshima to see the Atom Bomb dome and the peace memorial there.  I booked a ticket on the 8:12 Hikari RailStar scheduled to reach Hiroshima at 9:26.  I reached ShinKobe that morning at about 7:30 not sure how long it would take for me to figure out the procedure for boarding ,etc.  I had underestimated the Japanese.  Announcements were both in English and Japanese.  The platforms were marked in a completely idiot-proof manner.  Eg. if the train you were on was a 16 coach Nozomi, then your coach number was marked at a particular place.  If you were on an 8 coach Kodomo (slowest), then the same coach number was marked at the appropriate place.  No confusion whatsoever. 

I settled down on the platform (nothing fancy whatsoever about it or the station).  There was a bullet every 6 minutes towards Tokyo and towards Hiroshima.  This is on the Sanyo Shinkansen line from Osaka to Hakata (Fukuoka city).  Just before that there would be annoucement that such and such "SuperExpress Nozomi/Hikari/Kodomo is arriving on the platform at say 7:43.  Sure enough as the clock turned to 7:43 I would see the nose of the train entering the platform.  It would come in stop for about 30 secs - people would diesembark and board without any fuss.  The guard would whistle and the train would chug out.  This happened for every train.  Not a train late.  Apparently the last 10-12 km is all calculated by computer so that the train arrives exactly on time.

My train (a 16 coach Hikari Railstar) came in exactly at 8:14  I boarded it and sat myself down.  Soon we were hurtling away at 260 kmph or so.  You can't feel a thing.  It is as close to Newton's First Law :).  Much of the journey itself happened in tunnels and below the ground.  There were two stops - Fukuyama and Okayama.  The conductor bowed to all of us before he proceeded to check tickets.  The only time you get a sense of how fast you are going is when two trains go past each other.  You can feel your train get sucked towards the other train.  At exactly 9:26 I got off at Hiroshima.  What a ride!!!   The train was reasonably full and had a capacity of close to 1500.

Why would I take a flight if I could take such a train?  As Vasanth says, no one here will have any problem with a bullet train ride from Bangalore to Madras in 1.5 hrs.  Even at Rs.10000 I would take it over a flight that costs me Rs.8000.  But can we afford it as a nation?  Can we maintain it and run it the way the Japanese or the French run their superfast trains?  Can we ensure such levels of safety?   I still think that we need to take into account the needs not of the 95th percentile and above, but of the 75th percentile when designing high speed trains.  Give me a train that takes me to Mysore in 1 hr (average 140 kmph) or one that goes to Madras in 2.5 hrs (average again 140 kmph).

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Transmogrifier's picture

Railways in Japan

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Interestingly from hyperdia (and s_yajaman might know more about this), it appears that the Shinkansen goes till Shin Kobe (a suburb of Kobe?), then you transfer to the subway, walk a little to another line which takes you to Kobe (Hyogo). Integration at its best!  Railways in Japan carry 8 billion passengers a year, India's next with 5 billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/w...). However our population is 1135 million and Japan's population is 127 million (estimates unauthoritative).

The other side of the coin, this NY times article albeit rather old, makes an interesting read !

transmogrifier


TM

s_yajaman's picture

Shin = new

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Shin means new in Japanese.  When the Shin Kan Sen (New Trunk Line) was built, they built new stations as well.  Shin Kobe is not too far from the city centre.  There is a subway and I took it.  Most Japanese stations are like mazes - trains lines all over.  Similarly you have Shin-Osaka = new Osaka. 

On that road story - it is true.  Japan is John Maynard Keynes' dream/nightmare come true.  They have been in recession so long that they talk negative interest rates and growth rates of 0.1% as growth.  You have roads being built to pretty much nowhere just to keep the construction industry going.

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

bialterminal's picture

Bombardier India's MD- HSR at 200kmph is more feasible

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There is also talk about introducing bullet trains. How feasible will it be in India?

I will not talk about bullet train. That's not our business. I can talk about high-speed trains. Bullet trains fall into high-speed train category for that matter. First, let's talk about what we have in India. Currently, we have Rajdhanis which have been tried up to 130-135 kmph. This is our technology. Their engines can pull even more. We have speed ranges up to 200-250 kmph. This speed level can be called high speed. The second speed category is where bullet trains or similar trains come in. We have similar trains running where we have given some of our products. When you talk about high speed, the speed range is up to 200 kmph. This is one range. There is another range which is very high speed and beyond 300 kmph. One has to see the relevance of each of these speed ranges in our respective areas. Bombardier makes both these trains. We make very high-speed trains, and have delivered such trains. We also make medium speed range trains. When we speak about high-speed trains - key features are that they do not need dedicated tracks as such. When you talk about speed beyond 300 kmph you are talking about dedicated tracks. You are talking about aerodynamic exterior design because you could have a very high level of noise generation. Then you need a very special design and special design materials. You also need to look at dedicated corridor to move them. One should look at how these are applicable under Indian conditions. My own view is that for the kind of traffic and infrastructure we have, speed level of 200 kmph would be a good call which will not require dedicated tracks. You may require upgradation of tracks and you will have to improve current conditions of safety. It will not mean a dedicated structure which will be required for trains beyond 300 kmph. For India I would recommend 200 kmph or maximum 250 kmph. At present, we are still far below that.


The above excerpt was reproduced from this interesting article - http://www.projectsmonitor.com/detailnews.asp?newsid=13680
narayan82's picture

Another concern

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Safety of the passenger comes first. true. But what about safety of the bystander?

In Europe and around (Where HSR exists) the tracks are pretty much isolated. They have enough Underpasses and bridges that you never have to cross a track. In fact in many places, crossing tracks are illegal.

In India, apart from the Unmanned crossings, what about the milllions of poeple who cross tracks to reach thier fields everday. What about the Cows and Domestic Animals that walk around the tracks.

Till now they have a 60-80 KMPH trains coming towards them, how will they react when they have 200-250 kmph train hurtling at them? Its an expensive procedure to isolate the tracks. Its like creating a border!

In australia they have special underpasses just to let hedgehogs through so they dont get runover!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

Its not the train

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If we decide to have high speed trains we need to do what it takes to get it online. We cant have the same infrastructure and still want the benefits. At the same time not having a high speed option is getting us nowhere. You can bet the roads will break down after a while.

But, ultimately it is not about the train itself, its about decongestion. WIth bullet trains, if you consider 1 hour as the typical time for your commute to work then you can possibly live 300kms away and still get to work. If you put 150kmph trains you will still get decongestion in Bangalore but, the cities in range will be different. Look also at long range cities where intra day trips will become possible. A simple survey in the cities can indicate what the acceptance level will be for such a service

What will your land, track, signalling etc requirements be for both options? It should not be that today you built for 150kmph and then discovered in 2020 you have to hunt for land and tracks when what you have starts looking like legacy. More importantly who is the cat that needs to be belled for this? If its IR, Good luck.

idontspam's picture

Same reaction

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Till now they have a 60-80 KMPH trains coming towards them, how will they react when they have 200-250 kmph train hurtling at them?

If they are standing on the tracks then the reaction and result for both will be the same :) If they are either in the train or on the platform they will appreciate the faster train which gets them home sooner.

Vasanth's picture

Daily Commute at 200 kph ??

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Well, daily commute at 200 kph is not at all affordable. Even countries like the United States uses 60-80 kph daily commuter trains almost stopping everywhere. High speed train in United States by Amtrak is so expensive, unless until it is a business travel, people do not take it. United States itself has limited to high speed of 225 kph in very few of its Amtrak trains. People drive by cars, or take the Chinese Buses or Greyhound.

Currently what we need is the economically faster transport affordable to everyone. For example, a Mysore traveller is happy with 2 hours if it is nominal costwise, otherwise he is ready to travel 3 hours. 2 hour travel is achievable only in cars, Volvo buses and Non-stop trains. Normal buses and express trains takes 3 hours as usually. Volvos cost 225 rupees, car commute costs almost 300+, a normal non-stop bus costs 83 rupees and an express train costs 45 rupees.  Shatabdi costs 275 rupees (covers in 2 hours), non-stop train at 55 rupees (2hrds 30 minutes), A passenger train costs 24 rupees (covers in 3hrs 15 minutes).

Although Volvo covers in 2 hrs from Satellite bus stand, there are very few takers on weekdays. It is used only during weekends extensively. Most people travel by either Non-stop buses or Trains. Non-stop bus for instance takes 1 hour more, but saves 140 rupees. Express Train saves 180 rupees and passenger 200 rupees compared to a 2 hr travel of Volvo.

I regularly travel on weekends, I travel by Non-stop ordinary bus or a Train since it is financially viable. So does most of my friends most of them who are also techies in IT companies. 1 hour extra travel we don't mind on a weekend. Only if there is emergency, we take the Volvos or drive down (very occassionally due to the accidents of cars on the highway).

Same is the case of Shatabdi, it runs half of its capacity from Bangalore-Mysore. Whereas the Tippu (non-stop) ordinary train covering in 2hrs 30 minutes which was earlier doing it in 2hours at 55 rupees is the most popular. What I mean to say is we need more and more Tippu like trains which serves one and all at a reasonable travel time. Trains like Garib Rath and Jan Shatabdi gives the comfort  and speed of luxury trains at nominal costs. Secundarabad for example in Garib Rath A/C is 500 rupees, Hubli by JanShatabdi is 147 rupees only. Lot many these kind of trains are needed. These trains have the bottleneck of crossings to eliminate which we need double tracks. This is the need of the hour.

Indian transport market is highly price sensitive. Even if private companies are invited to run Bombardier or Shinkanen, they will not take up. It is not the Airport High Speed Rail which may get prospective passengers.

People think that this is my budget, if you can take me earlier, I am the happy. Say 2 hour travel between BLR and MYS. If you can take me in 3 hr, I don't mind. If you make 4 hr, then I will start shouting.

You can see the NICE road itself, there were so many users earlier when it was free, now it is reduced a lot.

 

s_yajaman's picture

Value of time

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TM,

We value our own time very much but not others' :), judging by how we drive on roads, break queues, etc. But to take your line of thought a little further.

Let's say I have the choice of traveling to Madras from Bangalore on the Shatabdi and the Shinkansen. 

 Travel time on the Shatabdi :  5 hrs to Madras Central.  Let's say it costs Rs. 500 on the Chair Car. 

Travel time on the Shinkansen will be (@240 average will be similarly 1.5hrs lets say it costs Rs.3500 one way (@rs 10/km. 

I spend rs. 3000 more and save 3.5 hrs.  As per microeconomic theory it makes sense to take the Shinkansen only if I value my time at more than Rs.800/hr (leisure or business) Or at about Rs.6500-Rs.7000/working day. 

Lets say I extend this Shinkansen to Pune and complete the Nozomi style run in 4 hrs for the 850 km run.  AC2 costs me probably Rs.1500  and takes me 20 hrs.  Shinkansen will cost me Rs.5000 (longer journey is cheaper/km) and save me 16 hrs.  Makes sense to take the Shinkansen if I value my time at better than rs.220/hr.   Here I start competing with flights, but with the drive to the airport itself being 1 hr more than the drive to our Shinkansen station, might be able to give stiff competition.

Also - out of the 5 billion on IR, Bombay suburban itself accounts for 3.5 billion trips. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

srinidhi's picture

Is that why they are planning the HSRL?

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Shinkansen to the airport!?

TGV's and the Shinkansen might again be an overkill..If given an option people would rather prefer a flight which could be cheaper..did some one say that Air Newzeland ran a airbus on biofuel?

s_yajaman's picture

Airline and airport lobby will kill this Shinkansen plan

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let's say IDS's dream coems true and we find that Shinkansen is highly doable.  This will mean the end of flights between Bangalore-Madras, bangalore Hyderabad and Bangalore Pune/Bombay and similarly Bombay-Ahmedabad, Delhi Ahmedabad.  Can you imagine the airline and airport lobby sitting and watching this happen.

They will fight tooth and nail using the same arguments that Vasanth and i have laid out to scuttle this. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Cost goes faster than the train

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HSRL cost escalates

As per the BOT model worked out by DMRC, the promoter will have to bear around Rs 3,500 of the total project cost. The remaining amount will come in the form of equity participation by the State and Central government (Rs 135 crore each), by BIAL (Rs 30 crore), and the land acquisition cost by State (Rs 532 crore), sources explained

Deal sounds okay to me. VGF taken care of by Center. GoK equity is 135 crores. Thats a lot less than the 300 crores BMTC is spending on 4 TTMCs aka Big Bazaar. I dont know if this includes land cost though. Also while we are at this we should get the new rail terminal at Devanhalli and also the bullet train lines done. 

srinidhi's picture

Lalu says bullet train btwn Chennai - Blr

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The budjet speech yesterday had a few surprises..one was abt bullet trains..

TOI today
BANGALORE : Reaching Chennai in 90 minutes could well be a reality. Lalu, in the interim railway budget presented on Friday, has proposed six bullet trains including three for the South. These will run along Bangalore-Chennai, Chennai-Bangalore-Kochi and Hyderaband-Vijayawada-Chennai lines.

I did not want to make a seperate forum post on this because of two reasons..
1.Cant trust Lalu..its election time and time for lies
2. What is the need for this train..I was talking the other day to my fren and there was a mention that the lalbaugh exp to chennai reaches chennai suburbs in 4 hrs and takes more than a hour to cover the last part of the journey..so if we clear this last bottle neck..we will still have a fast option to reach Chennai with existing infra!

silkboard's picture

Only a pre-feasibility study

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Sri, depending on which paper you read, the word "pre-feasibility" study may or may not have been highlighted in the news report. Its not even feasibility study, Lalu has announced a pre-feasibility study, where they will do analysis like those - does it make economical sense, is the distance ideally suited for giving big gains over 100 kph trains.

Bottomline, let us wait for - pre-feasibility, the feasibility, the DPR - the sarkaari reports to come in. We are good to just wait and watch for the time being.

rs's picture

Perhaps medium speed first ?

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It seems like before the go for 300kmph trains perhaps they can make medium speed trains  ? Currently the Udyan `Express' from Bangalore to Mumbai takes 24 hours to travel 1000km - which means around 40-45 kmph. If instead they had a train which travelled at say - 100 -120 kmph they could do this distance in 10-12 hours, which would make it a convenient overnight journey as opposed to an exhausting day long journey, which makes it unfeasable for business travellers, for example.

Ramesh



josconil's picture

High Speed Trains are a need of the times.

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It is indeed disheartening to see how we usually reason out things here in India.

India is the seventh largest country in land area; the second most populous country and the largest democracy and it is very evident that the present infrastructure is very inadequate to cater to the needs of the present let alone the future. It is really pathetic if we think that a country which has its own sophisticated space program, moon mission and nuclear program and is home to one of the largest scientific manpower in the world cannot develop cost effective transportation technologies to suit our needs and aspirations.  

Here are certain compelling reasons to go in for high speed trains:

1) Explosion in inter city travel

Rapid urbanization of the country has triggered an increase in travel between the Metroes and other growing 2nd and 3rd tier cities. This traffic by road, rail and air has grown significantly in the recent years.

2) BPO/IT/ITES boom

Not just in the metroes but also in other small cities.

3) Money value of time on the rise

4) Need for an eco friendly, long distance, mass rapid transit mode

Both road and air travel is costs a lot on the environment when analysed in the perspective of transit capacity vs energy spent. It is well established that rail based tavel is the most efficient form of surface transport.

It is predicted that India will have a middle class of about 583 million, with per capita disposable incomes by 2025. This middle class will defenitely prefer air travel to train travel for inter city journeys. Such a massive shift of preference will be disastrous to the environment. So it is in the best interests of the country and the environment that train travel becomes a fast,comfortable and easy mode of travel. 

Increasing the speed to the level of 350-400 kmph itself can give stiff competition to airlines as the additional time required to commute to the airport, the check -in and security clearence times and the time required at the destination for baggage claim and further time reqiured for the commute will in effect make the effective total time comparable, if the trains are non stop between the metroes.

For eg. Consider that you are flying from Bangalore to Mumbai. The commute from anywhere in the city to Devanahalli Airport which is more than 30 kms away takes min 1 hr in daytime. You have to be there about an hr in advance. The flight time is about 1 hr(air distance of about 835kms). The check out & bagage claim at Mumbai takes about 1/2 hr+1/2 hr commute to city. So that makes a total of about 4hrs. 

The present train travel time is about 22 hrs with an average speed of 60 kmph for the rail distance of about 1307 kms which means that you'll spend almost one day travelling. Now suppose the train speed is increased to an average of 300 kmph non stop. That makes it a travel time of about 4.35 hrs + the time required for commute to and from the cities say 1 1/2 hrs. So the total time works out to be 4.35+1.5=5.85 say 6hrs.

An upgradation to 300 kmph is possible by better aerodynamics, better engine, safer tracks, fool proof signalling and fewer at grade crossings between roads and slow speed rails. The TGV of France is an example of this.

Also we have to do original R&D to develop cost effective eco friendly alternatives to maglev. Even affluent Japan is actively developing such alternatives based on aerodynamic wing-in-ground effect or ground effect(www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s108912.htm )

Personally I'm also involved in the R&D for the same and I believe that I have developed a workable concept for a ground effect aerotrain, which is a radical departure from the winged train concepts proposed by the Japanese. I'm proceeding with the patenting formalities for the same.

Jos Conil

josconil@yahoo.com   

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