Date: 30.05.2017

I’m staying in Germany since last 3+ years and recently visited Switzerland for couple of weeks, below post is my personal experiences with Rail System in Germany, Switzerland vs India, also thoughts how India can be also have world class rail system if right people are in place to fix system & how it can be achieved in few years with dedication & hard work.

I’ll start with a short real life story from way back in 1998, I was studying engineering in my native place called Solapur. We had a classmate who use to ride Motorbike and use Axe Deo. Those were the days when my city was still ruled by bikes/bicycles and Indians were not as rich as you can find today ( middle class was much smaller ). Having a Motorbike was a big luxury, Axe Deo was very new to us and it was quite expensive as well. Why am I telling this story to you all, it turns out that this guy’s father was “Indian Railway Contractor”, you can image how much corruption was and still going on in Railway system in India.

 

What’s Working Well in Germany, Switzerland

  1. Intercity high speed dedicated trains, which connects all the major cities and doesn’t stop at smaller towns.e.g. Berlin to Hamburg ( ICE Sprinter running between 200 – 300 km/hr )
  2. Regional train connecting all the major cities with nearby towns, running almost every hour and touching almost 150 – 200 km/hr speed
  3. With Regional trains people come to main city and take high speed trains to another big city.
  4. Intercity and regional trains running every few hours throughout the day
  5. All the lines are electrified
  6. Multiple lines between all the cities, towns so that trains don’t have to stop aside to give way for another train
  7. Passenger cars, trucks can be carried by freight train running at high speed and more frequently with major cities ( Switzerland )
  8. This saves lots of money spent on auto fuel, as trains runs on green energy at least in Switzerland ( train companies consume electricity from Hydropower plants )
  9. They have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly pass system which encourages people to take train service on regular basis.
  10. Switzerland has got maximum train journey per person per year because of good and fast connectivity across country ( even with territory related challenges )
  11. Dustbins in every coaches and modern, clean toilets
  12. Stringent ticket checking and security arrangements
  13. Computerization in all the stations for booking, timetable inquiry purposes
  14. Bikes ( bicycles ) can be carried in the trains which helps in last mile connectivity

 

Current & Historical Problems In India

  1.  CORRUPTION, INEFFICIENCY, UNMOTIVATED Indian Rail employees and Rail  Ministry
  2.  Majority of trains still run with Diesel locomotives ( highly polluting, slow &  inefficient )
  3.  Single line between cities and towns e.g. Between Mumbai and Bangalore there is  single line even after 70 years of independence and it takes 24 hrs for this journey.  This distance is about 1200 km and has got 35 stations.
  4.  Trains are overpacked, even in the reserved coaches people are sitting down,  standing next to each other, hardly any space to move. e.g.  There are only 2  dedicated trains connecting between Pune and Solapur ( 2 big cities ). It stops in  between small towns, all the coaches except AC coaches are fully packed.
  5.  Fright train has to always stand aside to give way for passenger trains
  6.  Small, medium size town people need to ride same train which connects big cities
  7.  Corrupt, visionless politicians, officials continue to spoil rail system.
  8.  Thanks to Congress rule of 50+ years on India, they did more damage to India than  British & other foreign rulers.

 

What Can be Done

  1. Privatization and handing over to companies like Tata, Mahindra, L&T, Reliance
  2. Dividing India into zone for easier planning and enhancements of train network
  3. Get rid of inefficient people on regular basis similar to IT industry in India who does quarterly review to remove underperforming employees
  4. India has vast young man power who are jobless, lots of lands and lots of solar energy throughout the year.
  5. It’s good time to lay down multiple rail lines throughout India. e.g. put 5 lines between all the major cities above 1 million population. Each of the lines can be used by goods, public transport trains. This will avoid train slowing down during regular maintenance period. Each of the town should be connected with at least 2 lines with the bigger towns.
  6. Putting highest tolls on roads which can be covered with rail line; to discourage driver to ride their own vehicle.
  7. I’ve seen this working perfectly in central Switzerland. As India doesn’t have mountains; it can be easily achievable.
  8. Dustbins in every coaches and modern, clean toilets
  9. Stringent ticket checking and security arrangements
  10. Computerization in all the stations for booking, timetable inquiry purposes

Benefits

  1. If India can achieve connecting intra and inter states’ cities & villages with efficient Rail network like Germany & Switzerland it will be great boost to people’s lives and economy.
  2. This will give jobs to millions for years to come
  3. It will help farmers to connect with customers easily and will reduce food grain wastage.
  4. In case of fast, frequent & efficient connectivity to main cities, people can still stay in smaller towns and do daily commute to big cities. This will avoid already over populated and pollution in big cities
  5. Perishable goods can be easily transferred from one place to another in single day, this will help both farmers, small traders and consumers across India
  6. It will reduce lots of storage cost & wastage.

 

 

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