Column : High-speed aspirations on slow tracks
The proposal for developing high-speed railway line between Delhi and Kanpur via Agra was first mooted in the mid-1980s when Madhavrao Scindia was the railway minister. It was discussed with a sense of definiteness again in 2003 when low-fare airlines started to make significant inroads into premium rail travel traffic. For the last 10 years, every year before the budget, Railways has been making lofty proclamations about introducing high-speed trains, or some such statements about improving rail travel facilities.
For the kind of inefficiency and ineptitude that subsists in railways, it might have become a past tense if it were not a monopoly. We already know the sorry state of affairs of Air India, even though Air India has been comparatively far more efficient than the Indian Railways. The fact that passengers have a right to dignified travel is an idea that is lost on Indian Railways, even though they talk about an end-to-end travel solution.
Consider the way Indian Railways has been depriving the country for decades of