Guess what? The $23-billion East Railway Japan Company (JR East), which runs the Shinkansen or high speed rail network and metropolitan and regional rail services in Japan, meets most of its electricity requirement through self generation, Takeshi Tsuyoshi, General Manager, International Department, JR East, told.
JR East, which provides services in the eastern part of Japan, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, supplies 56 per cent of its electricity requirement from its own stable, with the remaining being purchased from outside.
Also, in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the entire electricity used by JR East is self-produced.
This strategy has important lessons for Indian Railways, which faces high fuel cost and has been trying for long to set up captive power plants.
JR East revenue
JR East gets 67 per cent revenue from transportation services, with the remaining coming from non-rail businesses such as shopping centres, offices, hotels, restaurants offices, fitness clubs and even kindergartens in the stations.
From the transportation revenue, JR East gets 30 per cent from the high speed network, 66 per cent from the conventional lines in Tokyo Metropolitan area and four per cent from other conventional lines.
JR East makes about 15 per cent profits from in its railway and non railway business each. While the company has not been getting any subsidy from local and central government since 1987, when its was privatised, Tsuyoshi shared that prior to 1987, the government provided funds for building the infrastructure while these companies invested in the rolling stock such as trains.
High speed trains
For the expansion lines after privatisation, JR East has been ploughing back its profits from the transport operations to the new areas. “Not all sections are profitable. Some sections (more crowded ones) are profitable, which the newer ones take time to generate profits,” Tsuyoshi, who was visiting India to participate in a CII Rail Equipment conference, said.
Tsuyoshi also shared that not all high speed trains can run on the entire 7,458 km of JR East network. Of the 7,458 km of network, 1,470 km is Shinkansen or high speed network. However, there are some high speed trains which can run on both the HSR and conventional tracks.
Partnering with India
Japan has been pitching its high speed railway technology to India based on the fact that it is the “safest high speed railway system in the world and has recorded zero fatalities.” Japan International Cooperation Agency with India has completed the feasibility study for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed section in July this year.
For high speed trains, from starting land acquisition to commercial run, the process takes about 15 years, said Tsuyoshi. JR East has offered to transfer technology for construction, operations and management for high speed rail systems.