Travelling from one place to the other within India - be it on the Indian Railways network or intra-city and intra-state commute - is witnessing a tremendous change. For one, the Indian Railways network that transports lakhs of people everyday is looking to introduce new modern trains and technology in the next few years.
Travelling from one place to the other within India – be it on the Indian Railways network or intra-city and intra-state commute – is witnessing a tremendous change. For one, the Indian Railways network that transports lakhs of people everyday is looking to introduce new modern trains and technology in the next few years. Sample this; as early as next month Indian Railways will roll out its first semi-high speed engine-less train for inter-city travel! For another, high-speed rapid travel, both in metro networks and emerging technologies like Hyperloop is set to take off in India. Last-mile and quick connectivity is in focus and some of the transport systems that will be introduced in the near future will completely change the way India travels. From bullet train and self-propelled Indian Railways trains to game changing technologies such as Hyperloop, we take a look at new transport systems that are changing the face of India:
1. Bullet train: India is building its first bullet train network with the help of Japan between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ambitious bullet train project is expected to be fully operational by 2023. Once ready, commuters will be able to travel between Ahmedabad and Mumbai in just 2 hours! India will get Japan’s E5 Shinkansen series of bullet trains which can travel at maximum speeds of up to 350 kmph! Indian Railways first bullet train project will cover 12 stations; Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
Work on the project is progressing in full swing and officials are hopeful that land inquisition will be complete by end of 2018. The ‘Make in India’ project not only involves procuring bullet trains from Japan but also assembling and finally manufacturing them in the country. The first bullet train project marks a new learning phase for Indian Railways and with technology transfer forming part part of the initiative, future high-speed rail corridors will benefit immensely. Not only will Japan’s bullet trains ensure faster travel but they are also one of the safest and most punctual in the world. NHSRCL (National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited), the executing body of the bullet train project, has said that the fares of bullet train will be in line with AC train travel and less than airfares.
2. Semi-high speed engine-less trains: Even as India waits for its first bullet train ride, Indian Railways is already working on a new semi-high speed technology that will replace Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express trains on the network. Codenamed Train 18 and Train 20, after the years they will be manufactured in, these train sets will be similar to metro trains, running on self-propulsion systems and hence eliminating need for a locomotive to haul them. While Train 18 will replace Shatabdi Express chair cars, Train 20 will be the modern substitutes for Rajdhani Express sleeper trains.
Train 18 is being manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ initiative at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and is expected to roll out by September-end. Train 18, which will be capable of travelling at speeds of 160 kmph, will replace India’s fastest Shatabdi on the Delhi-Bhopal route from January 2019 after rigorous testing by RDSO. The air-conditioned chair car will have several features such as automatic doors with sliding footsteps, disabled-friendly modular toilets, swanky mini pantry in each coach, comfortable European-style seats, WiFi and GPS-based information systems, fully sealed gangways and diffused LED lighting.
Train 20, on the other hand, is a project still in works. Indian Railways will float a fresh tender for the project, inviting global railway giants to collaborate with Indian companies to manufacture world-class aluminium body train sets in India.
3. Rapid metro and metrino pods: Several high-speed rapid metro rail networks are being planned for Delhi-NCR which will reduce the travel time between crucial cities drastically. Some of these are; Delhi-Panipat Rapid Rail, Delhi to Meerut high-speed luxury trains and Delhi to Alwar rapid transit network. The executing agency for this project is National Capital Region Transport Corporation. These Regional Rapid Transit Systems will make for easier and more comfortable inter-city travel.
Not only that, Modi government is also looking to introduce a new driverless public transport system – Metrinos – between Delhi and Gurgaon to ease traffic congestion on roads and also provide a more environment friendly green mode of transport. Metrino pods are small driverless, fully automatic vehicles that travel under an overhead network. A pilot project from Gurgaon-Delhi border to Badshapur Mod on Sohna Road is being planned.
4. Hyperloop: India may very well be one of the first few countries in the world to get a Hyperloop network that allows one to travel at over 1000 kmph speed with the help of magnetic levitation. Two ventures, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Virgin Hyperloop One are separately pursuing projects in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively for connectivity between Anantapura-Amaravati-Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and Mumbai-Pune. Post feasibility studies, both the companies will build test tracks in these states before the projects get a final nod. Said to be faster than aircraft, Hyperloop will world-over be a game-changing system for transportation and India taking a lead in its implementation is a welcome step.