Talgo is also throwing in its hat to manufacture its latest bullet train, the Avril, under Modi government's 'Make in India' initiative.
Talgo is also throwing in its hat to manufacture its latest bullet train, the Avril, under Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. José María de Oriol Fabra, Talgo’s CEO told FE Online that the company would like to participate in the tender process for high-speed rail corridors, as and when Indian Railways decides to float them. “I don’t know when Indian Railways will have a dedicated network for high-speed rail. You need to invest in a network so that bullet trains can run at that speed. You need infrastructure. I have heard that certain corridors will be opened, not many, though. As when those corridors are opened, we would like to participate in these tenders,” he said. Avril is the latest brand of bullet trains from Talgo. The train can achieve a maximum speed of 380 km/hour. A train of 200 metres can seat up to 600 passengers.
Japan is already making India’s first bullet train corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The construction for that will begin in 2018 and the project is likely to be completed some time in 2023. Meanwhile China has also expressed interest in bringing its bullet trains to India and many feasibility studies are currently underway.
Talgo is eyeing India as a big market for its coaches and is willing to set up a manufacturing plant here. “While some components of the coaches would be made in Spain, most of the procurements and work can be done in India,” José María de Oriol Fabra said. Talgo has already successfully tried its semi-high speed train on Indian tracks. During the extensive trials, Talgo’s train achieved a speed of 180 km/hr, a first for Indian Railways. The train also completed a journey between Delhi and Mumbai in less than 12 hours. The Rajdhani Express takes around 17 hours for the same journey.
Watch: Exclusive Interior Preview Of Talgo’s Train
Indian Railways has said that it is considering Talgo’s coaches for Shatabdi routes, since the light-weight train with its ability to attain higher speed on curves, may work well for crucial routes such as Delhi to Amritsar and Delhi to Bhopal. Talks are on to lease 2-5 train sets from Talgo after the coaches have been modified to suit Indian needs.
“For Indian Railways to have our technology as soon as possible, the only way is to buy or lease existing equipment. We have certain equipment that can be modified to Indian needs. That is the fastest way to have 2-4 train sets in India as soon as possible. But for the long term, we expect Indian Railways to float tenders in which we will participate. If we win, we can start manufacturing here,” de Oriol Fabra elaborated.
But even as India gets ready to travel by a bullet train, Indian Railways is dreaming of Maglev and Hyperloop trains. While Maglevs are ‘Magnetic Levitation’ trains that can run at speeds of 500 km/hour, Hyperloop is a super-fast transportation system with speeds of over 700 km/hour. But with Maglevs and Hyperloop in focus, where does Talgo see itself fitting into the long-term plans of Indian Railways? José María de Oriol Fabra tells us that Talgo is already in talks with Hyperloop for a tie-up in certain markets. He, however, rules out the possibility of the company making a Maglev train.
As far as India goes, Talgo plans to focus on the immediate needs of the network. “India has a huge rail network, and not all of it can be improved simultaneously. We can provide an enormous advantage with our tilting, light-weight technology. We are not planning to develop a Maglev. For the long-term, we are in talks with Hyperloop. We are developing new future concepts. These technologies will take some years to come. But in India, the traditional network needs to be upgraded first and that is our focus area,” he believes.
Indian Railways is looking to introduce various new technologies – from semi-high speed trains, bullet trains to Maglevs – to reduce the travel time for passengers on major corridors. Apart from this, Indian Railways has also undertaken the ‘Mission Raftaar’, which is aimed at increasing the average speed of trains superfast mail/express trains by 25 km/hr in the next 5 years. As Indian Railways looks to bring in new technologies from various global operators, passengers can certainly look forward to more comfortable and shorter train journeys in the coming years.