'Bullet trains not viable in India'
Mumbai: Indian Railways had planned to lay dedicated high speed passenger corridors on five of its routes including the Mumbai-Pune section to reduce travel time and increase the speed of passenger trains, but after several deliberations, senior railway officials claim that this is not a workable proposition.
Rakesh Chopra, general manager of Southern Railway said, "It sounds good to have a high speed rail corridor to showcase the country as one of the progressive nations, but the ground reality is that with the introduction of high speed trains on a particular route, the number of normal trains operated will reduce."
"To accommodate a high speed train, almost three to four sections ahead will have to be kept vacant for the speedy movement of this train. Instead, there can be more trains carrying a larger number of people," said a senior railway official.
Another official said that trespassing across unmanned railway crossings will act as a speed breaker for high speed trains.
At a two-day international technical seminar on high speed corridors on Thursday, senior railway officials came together to discuss whether or not it is possible to increase the speed of long-distance trains and reduce the travel time.
"Merely talking about high speed corridors on the basis of its progress in the international scenario is not a healthy sign. The transportation pattern here is peculiar and can not be matched with any other country," said the official.
The average speed of the Mumbai-New Delhi Shatabdi Express is 90 kmph and in some sections, the train manages to touch 120 kmph. Officials said if this has to be increased further, a lot of infrastructural work will have to be undertaken.