Indian Railways is planning various Bullet Trains coaches and MegLev Trains across the country, apart from the Mumbai-Ahmedabad one
Mumbai: In the biggest scale-up of its ambitions so far, the Indian Railways has set up two committees – one to shepherd its plans to build bullet train coaches capable of running at speeds higher than 350 km per hour, and the second to explore the feasibility of running trains based on magnetic levitation or MagLev trains, as they are known worldwide.
The bullet train coach plan, christened Mission 350 Plus, will be headed by Inderjeet Singh, Executive Director (Carriage) at the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the railway’s apex technical body. The MagLev exploration committee will be headed by Nitin Chowdhary, currently Executive Director, Mechanical Engineering (Development) at the Railway Board. Both the committees have been given two months to submit their reports. The two plans were discussed extensively under the ‘future readiness’ module of the Indian Railways’ Chief Mechanical Engineers Conference held at Ooty in Tamil Nadu recently.
Over 45 of the Railways’ top mechanical engineering officers, led by member (mechanical), Hemant Kumar, attended the conference. The move comes in the backdrop of the Railways firming up studies for various bullet train routes across the country, apart from the Mumbai-Ahmedabad one.
These routes include Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata and Mumbai-Chennai, all part of the Railways’ High Speed Diamond Quadrilateral as well as routes like Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna, Hyderabad-Chennai and Chennai-Bengaluru- Thiruvanathapuram.
“A High Speed Rail Network (railway lingo for bullet trains) takes almost half a decade to go from the drawing board to the first pile on the ground. It could be a decade before work starts on any of these projects. Preparing to have some kind of homegrown expertise to build such coaches, rather than just looking to import, is a good move,” said a railway official.
The MagLev, currently in operation in China and Japan, is a much more expensive proposition though speeds touched by these trains are in excess of what some bullet trains can achieve. Recently, Japan managed to run a MagLev train at over 600 kmph during a test, which is a world record for a train’s speed.