Shri J. P. Batra, Chairman, Railway Board inaugurated at Vigyan Bhawan (India) a Seminar on High Speed Corridors on Indian Railways. The Seminar was jointly organized by the Ministry of Railways, Planning Commission and the Asian Institute of Transport Development, Press Information Bureau reported. The subjects for the different sessions included Economic Growth & Mobility, case for High Speed Passenger Services, Project Financing and Technology Platform etc.
In his inaugural remarks, Shri Batra said that the seminar on High Speed Corridors was taking place at a very opportune moment. Out of the four broad classes of products viz. freight, commuter, intercity and High Speed, the Indian Railways were doing well in the first three classes but lacked the fourth product. High Speed Corridors provide the commuter with an alternate mode for traveling punctually, fast, safely and with better comfort than any other mode and Internet has ensured that passengers also carry their office with them. A number of countries viz. Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden etc. have either joined the bandwagon or are in the process of joining it. Various high speed corridors are already being planned in America.
Elaborating on the need for High Speed Corridors in India, Shri Batra said that the need for a cleaner mode of transport for movement of people from one end to the other and also in view of global warming, it is imperative that High Speed trains fare better over all other modes of transport. The concern for affordability of high speed trains in India can be brushed aside by quoting the example of Shinkansen of Japan. Despite high initial cost, the daily average transport density of Tokaido Shinkansen is 2,20,000 passengers and it contributes nearly 500 billion yens per year just from the time saved for its passengers. Another example is the high speed railway in France. The socio-economic profitability combining the money and time saved by the passengers of the South East TGV is estimated to generate a return of 30 per cent on investments. In his concluding remarks, Shri Batra, in his concluding remarks, said that the idea was to scrutinize the feasibility of high speed corridors in India not only as an environmentally clean and viable alternative to meet the ever increasing transport demand but also to explore the possibility of high speed trains playing the vehicle of economic growth in the country. He requested the State Governments to partner with the Indian Railways in this new initiative and help boost the economic growth of their cities. H also asked the Industry to come forward with innovative solutions for making these projects a success.