The celebrations regarding the start of work on the bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai reminds us of the sound and fury created during the trial run of Talgo high-speed trains, last year. Till date, the company is waiting for a lease approval from the government. It was hoped to start from 2018 but looks like 2019 is the probable date.
When nine coaches of Talgo made its way to India, there were talks like only PM Narendra Modi can realise such dreams and there was a huge hue and cry about taking the project forward. The coaches, in fact, were taken back to Spain after the experiment.
But the experts were and are of the opinion that we don’t have the infrastructure to run semi-high speed trains (150-200 kmph) and this showcase doesn’t take us any closer to that goal, reported Quint, sometime back.
Moreover, even if it becomes a reality, travelling will be costlier than on the aeroplanes. At least one does not have to lay tracks for aeroplanes. Considering the £12bn loan from Japan, a flight ticket seems like a much cheaper option.
The Indian Railways showed interest in deploying Talgo trains in short-distance routes like Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Lucknow, Bengaluru-Chennai or Delhi-Amritsar on a profit-sharing basis. The Indian Railways is looking at leasing four Talgo trains to begin with.
Even when High-Speed train runs were planned, there were many conditions to run them. Stations en-route the Delhi-Mumbai trial were given specific instructions to padlock the track diversions, in case of a signalling failure. In the event it turned out our system could indeed not handle high-speed trains. No train was allowed to run on parallel tracks when a Talgo was running through a block section to prevent casualties in the case of a derailment. Several trains were periodically stopped and rescheduled for the duration of each trial, reported the Quint.
The Talgo experiment, rather than reducing the pressure, increased the traffic and people were stranded as their trains did not come on time. It is said that the Gatimaan Express track is yet to be barricaded.
The bullet train will run 217 kmph and imagine the safety measures need to be taken.
Hope this will be a reality in 2022 when India will be ready to celebrate its 75th Independence Day and not end up like another Talgo-like project, only Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing.