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Old 16th September 2017, 11:16   #106
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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Originally Posted by Simhi View Post
May be off topic but asking out of curiosity - Is track / gauge going to be used by Shinkansen trains compatible with our existing broad gauge? Basically, why not use the new infrastructure to run our existing trains at high speed too - may be not at 300+ kmph but at least 160 to 180 kmph. Many times I hear that our existing wagons and engines are capable of 180 kmph but they don't run at these speeds due to our existing tracks.
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Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
The tracks would be standard gauge for Bullet train, different from broad gauge that IR operates. That is the clarity so far.
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Originally Posted by PetrolRider View Post
They are different from standard railway tracks even in Japan.

It is like having Expressways, NH and other city roads. We can't upgrade city roads and make them expressway, similarly HSR tracks are kept separate than traditional railway tracks for operational, efficiency, safety and cost point of view.
IMO having a different gauge for the bullet train tracks makes for a very very bad long term decision. And this is something that would be a result of the Japanese technology and Japanese approach to bullet trains.

This means that we would need to have not just dedicated tracks for the high speed sections, but also dedicated stations/platforms and related infrastructure.

By using the same gauge as rest of the Indian railway network along with some form of signalling compatibility, we open up the possibility of letting the bullet trains cover the last miles on regular tracks. This is something that happens in France and China, but not in Japan. I am not aware of how the german ICE system works in this regard.

For a city like Mumbai, this can open up the possibility of allowing the bullet trains to stop at any of the long distance train stations. Imagine boarding a bullet train from Mumbai Central, VT or Dadar. The train travels at the speeds of regular shatabdi or rajdhani trains till the start of the HSR lines.

Japan took the route of building a dedicated and totally separate network for their bullet trains. But one of the reasons for doing that in Japan was that their older railway system used a gauge that was much narrower than the standard gauge and on those narrower gauge. In spain, where they use a broader than standard guage network, they took this decision, but there the reason was to have compatibility with the rest of the european TGV network. Taiwan uses the Japanese HSR technology and over there also they built a separate network for HSR systems.

I am also not getting the huge amount of negativity regarding the use of bullet trains or how applicable the technology is for India. And this is surprising to me on a car forum like team-bhp. Here in India we had some very old school automobile manufacturing till around 1980s. With the launch of Maruti cars and the Japanese collaboration for motorcycles, our country got a huge boost in the auto industry.

Indian auto industry jumped from post ww2 era to modern era thanks in big part to the Japanese collaborations in the auto industry in the 1980s.

Japanese technology and training from the 1980s collaborations have helped India become one of the world's auto hubs. Maruti and Hero Honda changed the way India manufactures and services cars and bikes. And 30 years hence here in India the average auto buyer expects world class cars and bikes. Just ask someone buying a Premier padmini, ambassador or a Bajaj scooter in 1970s and early 1980s and you will see the difference. Maybe compare to a royal enfield bike sold in India in 2000s

Delhi Metro project showed us how Japanese loan, some technology transfer and modern technology could change things with public transportation. While the Kolkata metro was a good effort by the Indian railways, we are not using that technology or system for any other metro in India. And we leapfrogged into the world of modern metro systems.

I expect that this bullet train system will do a similar thing to the railway transport in India. Imagine a dedicated high speed passenger rail network in India, the kind of network that China is building between its cities.

The Japanese train network is known for its efficiency and its processes. While the bullet train network will be separate, what if the indian railways actually decides to take lessons from the Japanese processes and applies it to the indian railways network.

If the likes of Bajaj could go from being old school Indian manufacturer to one that is able to compete with the Japanese, cant we dream that Indian railways learns and is able to become world class?

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Originally Posted by nthakral View Post
Only thing which bothers me is the maintenance of these trains. Considering the lack of civic sense that prevails in India at all levels, strong measures need to be put into place to ensure that these bullet trains do not face the same fate as what happened with Tejas Express.
Delhi Metro has been around for around 15 years now. The Delhi metro coaches and stations are at par with the current generation modern metro coaches from anywhere else in the world. And in these 15 years, I have seen some strange things like a family making their child pee inside a metro coach. But overall the Delhi metro system has held up remarkably well.

Compared to this, when you travel by mumbai local trains, you will see that even new coaches that are less than a year old show tons of wear and dirt. And same with Indian railways train sets running on long distance routes.

There was a time when things in Indian railways coaches were what I would call "average indian proof". Every item that could be abused by a passenger was heavily over engineered and almost none of them went bad easily. The toilet faucets, door handles, door locks, window locks, light switches, etc all were very well made and sturdy. Unfortunately in the last 10 years, Indian railways has gone in the direction of cost cutting and using consumer home grade stuff. I have seen train bathrooms with plastic latches that would not even last in my home more than a couple of weeks. Normal home grade switches and plug points. Cheap faucets and other bathroom fittings which will not last in most commercial high traffic situations. Another example of railways not deploying technology properly is the ATVM machines used in Mumbai local train system. A big percentage of those kiosks are non functional because of various issues.

While I haven't been on the Tejas express, to me the issue seems more like a case of Indian railways not doing their job properly and then blaming the users. When it comes to high traffic and rough use situations, you cant just use regular home grade stuff and expect those things to hold up.

A good analogy in this modern tech world would be tablets that are designed for kids vs regular tablets. Amazon sells special kids models of the Kindle Fire tablets that are relatively child proof. Same should be the design consideration when adding any kind of amenities to a Indian railway passenger train coach.

-- no1lives4ever

Last edited by no1lives4ever : 16th September 2017 at 11:28.
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Old 16th September 2017, 11:42   #107
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

The average speed of express trains in India is currently anywhere between 50-70 kmph! If we made the same investment in current infrastructure, we not only improve the average speed significantly and also improve the overall safety which benefit 99% of the population and not the just a selected few in ONE corridor.

P.S. Even if we are able to increase the average speed of our Express trains to 100 kmph, the travel times will reduce by half on most sectors and atleast 30% on other. Now tell me whats more important.
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Old 16th September 2017, 12:12   #108
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Originally Posted by no1lives4ever View Post
IMO having a different gauge for the bullet train tracks makes for a very very bad long term decision. And this is something that would be a result of the Japanese technology and Japanese approach to bullet trains.

This means that we would need to have not just dedicated tracks for the high speed sections, but also dedicated stations/platforms and related infrastructure.

By using the same gauge as rest of the Indian railway network along with some form of signalling compatibility, we open up the possibility of letting the bullet trains cover the last miles on regular tracks. This is something that happens in France and China, but not in Japan. I am not aware of how the german ICE system works in this regard.

For a city like Mumbai, this can open up the possibility of allowing the bullet trains to stop at any of the long distance train stations. Imagine boarding a bullet train from Mumbai Central, VT or Dadar. The train travels at the speeds of regular shatabdi or rajdhani trains till the start of the HSR lines.

Japan took the route of building a dedicated and totally separate network for their bullet trains. But one of the reasons for doing that in Japan was that their older railway system used a gauge that was much narrower than the standard gauge and on those narrower gauge. In spain, where they use a broader than standard guage network, they took this decision, but there the reason was to have compatibility with the rest of the european TGV network. Taiwan uses the Japanese HSR technology and over there also they built a separate network for HSR systems.


-- no1lives4ever

I would like to see a completely separate, dedicated high speed network.
The IR network is already at its limits and specially in cities like Mumbai there is no slot for a set of new trains say at for one hour interval Shinkansen service.( for example).
Yes it will be expensive but it would be a worthwhile investment for generations to come.
Also just like to add it would be good if we can curb air travel. It creates no manufacturing capabilities what so ever in our country and we need to spend money out of the country for every little things of aircrafts. After the tech transfer we will have a lot of manufacturing will be here, even if not 100%.
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Old 16th September 2017, 12:48   #109
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

Railways is a popular travel option for Middle Class people in India.
How many people,except for Curiosity, will opt for such a travel?
Paying around 5000 for rail travel will always be the second option to Air Travel.
India needs more than Statues & Bullet Trains.
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Old 16th September 2017, 18:52   #110
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

At present, Bullet trains are very good for developing countries having huge population like India with ever increasing middle class segment who can afford to pay premium for faster travel between cities.

Also simultaneously, India should consider opening up at least one route for future technologies like Hyperloop. We never know how Hyperloop will shape up the travel 10 years down the line. Hyperloop has the potential to bring down the infrastructure/operational costs drastically and will be much faster than bullet trains.
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Old 16th September 2017, 19:36   #111
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

I am someone who loves technology and it is great that such amazing technology is coming to India. But before we get all emotional about it and quote ISRO's success in achieving things when people were crying about hunger and poverty, let's take a step back and look at it purely based on whether it is possible to service the need and break even.

IIMA has done a report on this and I am basing my calculations on that. Link

So the basic gist is at Rs 1500, the train needs to make 100 trips per day serving 1 lakh people for it to break even financially.

To give some context to the problem, let us assume that the people who are traveling are businessmen who need to travel and wouldn't mind taking the flight. As of today on a weekday we have only 27 direct flights from Mumbai to Ahmedabad per day. it translates to 27 * 200 = 5400 passengers/day. Which is roughly 5% of the people required to make the bullet train sustainable.

Now you can say that there are many people traveling by train which I am missing. With a quick search on irctc for trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad it throws up 28 trains. I am going to take an extremely optimistic scenario of 50% of the people willing to upgrade to a bullet train and that every train is mainly used by people traveling between these 2 places. Each train having a capacity of around 1000 people. That translates to 28 * 1000 *0.5 = 14000.

Now with all the optimistic conditions accounted for, one say that India is growing and this number will keep growing. Let us again be optimistic at peg it at 10% growth every year. Which means that from around ~20000 potential users/day, in 5 years we will reach ~32000 potential users/day. Which means the bullet train will be 70% underutilized even under the most optimistic conditions.

Now lets look at some of the negatives.

Firstly, airlines are extremely flexible and nimble with pricing and will do anything to extract every last penny from its resources. Does our Indian railways have that kind of an efficiency? Even demand based pricing which airlines have practiced for decades they are unable to replicate on the premium trains resulting in losses.

Secondly, with the impending electrification of transportation, there is a possibility that crude oil prices will hit rock bottom. Today on advanced booking airlines are willing to sell tickets for Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 after spending 40% of it on taxes! Imagine what will happen if there were no taxes.

Thirdly, no matter what there will be a significant chunk of people preferring flights especially those with offices/homes near airports.

I believe that we could've achieved the exact same thing at a fraction of the cost by cutting taxes on flights and improving our airport infrastructure

Will be happy to know what other members think about this.

Last edited by shyampsunder : 16th September 2017 at 19:56.
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Old 16th September 2017, 20:38   #112
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

With the number of stops they are planning, it will lose its effectiveness even if it travels at 600 kph. And, we the citizens of India, will be footing the bill through increased taxation which is already all-time high. These are the Acche Din, this Govt. spoke so tirelessly about during its campaign?

And then there is cattle menace. Quite a substantial number of cattle come under trains every year. While the heavy and slow locomotives existing right now barely derail upon hitting a cattle, a faaaast and lightweight engine of bullet train will almost certainly derail with very tragic results. They may have to build the track on an elevated path. More cost.
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Old 16th September 2017, 22:07   #113
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
With the number of stops they are planning, it will lose its effectiveness even if it travels at 600 kph. And, we the citizens of India, will be footing the bill through increased taxation which is already all-time high. These are the Acche Din, this Govt. spoke so tirelessly about during its campaign?

And then there is cattle menace. Quite a substantial number of cattle come under trains every year. While the heavy and slow locomotives existing right now barely derail upon hitting a cattle, a faaaast and lightweight engine of bullet train will almost certainly derail with very tragic results. They may have to build the track on an elevated path. More cost.
You need to be get to know the details of the project before start criticizing.

There will be two types of trains with different number of stops. One set of trains will be with 12 stops and another with less stops. The one with all 12 stops will take 2 hour 58 mins while fewer stops will take 2 hour 7 mins.

Coming to disturbances to track from cattle or other things, the entire track will be elevated except very small stretch which will be underground. Only small part will be in level with ground but that will also be with proper fencing.

Regarding acche din about this govt, the feasibility study for the bullet train is started by previous govt.

Not just the bullet trains. Feasibility studies for the important DFC (Direct Freight Corridor) also started by the previous govt in 2006. But its not started for the next 8 years. The new govt started construction of DFC in 2 major routes, Mumbai to Delhi (1483 KM) and Ludhiana to Kolkata (1839 KM) and its progressing at a good pace.

Last edited by sri_tesla : 16th September 2017 at 22:35.
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Old 16th September 2017, 23:10   #114
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Default Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
The average speed of express trains in India is currently anywhere between 50-70 kmph! If we made the same investment in current infrastructure, we not only improve the average speed significantly and also improve the overall safety which benefit 99% of the population and not the just a selected few in ONE corridor.

P.S. Even if we are able to increase the average speed of our Express trains to 100 kmph, the travel times will reduce by half on most sectors and atleast 30% on other. Now tell me whats more important.

Hi extreme torque,

You are correct, but similar money can get a world class system here in India with the clause of technology transfer. I would have actually have loved to see a Indian designed and made super fast train using ISRO and HAL engineers. The Shinkansen was developed by out of work Japanese WW2 aircraft designers in the 60s. It was basically an aircraft aluminum fuselage on rails. There should have been a High Speed Rail Corporation using best engineers and designers here and manufactured this thing here. That did not happen and is not happening here. So this is the next best thing.

If we can run a network of High Speed Trains pan India, we will free up IR for other services and have the chance of adoption of good tech in IR, a rub off from Japanese system. Initially it will be expensive but once the technology to build tracks etc are learnt and proper planning of the railway stations , by making space in station complex for offices , malls and hotels it will be a huge money earner. If not a money spinner will not make a loss surely. Please do not look at it only from the perspective of expensive pointy nosed trains with shiny color.Just one visit to stations of Nagoya or Kyoto or for that matter any Japanese city connected by Shinkansen will drive home the point.

The calculations shown by the "nay" Sayers on ticket cost for end stations only generating the money is kinda skewed. There will be travelers using this line for in between stations. There will be a strong case of utilizing the real estate for the above mentioned revenue generating methods, only it needs to be planned and implemented. Also myself being a aviation enthusiast with love for aircrafts, but keeping the romantic notion aside, the whole system of aviation dependent mass travel bleeds money to foreign shores by way of spares , maintenance and oil bills of which none can ever be indegenised.

Last edited by ampere : 20th September 2017 at 17:11. Reason: Trimmed quoted post
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Old 17th September 2017, 01:53   #115
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Skipping a whole generation of technology would have been a good option if Hyperloop was already implemented somewhere. While the country is going to spend (loan, but still needs to be paid back) Rs1L Cr on a project, why not go with the latest greatest.
In related news, Hyperloop has picked India as one of the top 10 possible routes. Lets see where this goes. A Bengaluru-Chennai Hyperloop in 23 minutes, or Mumbai-Chennai in an hour would be super awesome!
https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/14/1...st-us-india-uk
Hyperloop doesn't have a single working prototype yet. The premise on which the hyper loop has been based has a lot to prove and no one knows what the cost/capacity of hyper loop will be. It has been proposed (gathered from previous science enthusiast/futurist ideas) by a charismatic techno-enterpreneur. On the other hand.
High speed rail based on steel wheels on rails has had several thousands of kilometers in routes and has been operating for the last 50 years. It has covered millions of passenger miles and a lot of data is available about its operation, safety, energy usage and finances.

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Originally Posted by Simhi View Post
May be off topic but asking out of curiosity - Is track / gauge going to be used by Shinkansen trains compatible with our existing broad gauge? Basically, why not use the new infrastructure to run our existing trains at high speed too - may be not at 300+ kmph but at least 160 to 180 kmph. Many times I hear that our existing wagons and engines are capable of 180 kmph but they don't run at these speeds due to our existing tracks.
The track gauge is standard gauge (1435 mm) as against our broad gauge (1676 mm). Even if we were to build it in BG the existing rolling stock would be unfit for running on the HSR tracks. On the positive side the loading gauge (width of coaches) of Japanese Shinkansen is atleast as wide as out mainline non suburban trains. It may be possible even with the present scenario to develop rolling stock with gauge changing bogies which could run on both the HSR as well as conventional tracks.

Last edited by Akshay1234 : 17th September 2017 at 02:17. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 17th September 2017, 08:29   #116
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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And then there is cattle menace. Quite a substantial number of cattle come under trains every year. While the heavy and slow locomotives existing right now barely derail upon hitting a cattle, a faaaast and lightweight engine of bullet train will almost certainly derail with very tragic results. They may have to build the track on an elevated path. More cost.
This will be avoided via the route being elevated, but it brings out an important issue facing India today. Bullet trains and rockets to Mars on the one hand with all the things going on about cows on the other - I will not comment about the merits of that because there is sentiment involved there that I don't empathise with or understand, but it is there for sure - that, I accept. But what I will say is that this sentiment of a minority gets exploited, often violently, by any local Tom Dick or Harry goonda or dada or politician, for their own ends, that have nothing to do with the welfare of the animal. Just an occasional statement by the leadership saying that this isn't acceptable is not going to address this vigilante capture of more and more parts of the country, that seems to be the trend of the last three years, over cows and more.

How the country resolves the tensions between the modern and the rational versus the old and usually irrational is one of the many challenges that India faces. As it faces the other massive one of creating enough jobs which are not beyond the capability/education levels of the masses. Not many see this as an existential threat, IMO.

My concern about them is that these trains will open up yet another battlefront and source of tensions - between the very few that will afford the fares for them or the cost/rent of the real estate surrounding their path, against the very large majority that will not be able to afford to do so even after the loan has been repaid.

I don't see any meaningful attempts to resolve such existing conflicts that are visible, let alone the new ones that will be unleashed by such lopsided progress.

Last edited by Sawyer : 17th September 2017 at 08:30.
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Old 17th September 2017, 09:51   #117
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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Originally Posted by shyampsunder View Post

IIMA has done a report on this and I am basing my calculations on that. Link


Will be happy to know what other members think about this.
Nice data points! This is the data I was looking for when I was asking for the financial feasibility report of this project. It is a good thing that the commute time will reduce but at what cost?
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Old 17th September 2017, 10:58   #118
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

Bullet Trains in India:
It's like building a Sky-scraper without a proper foundation and hoping that by the time your show-off of a project has been completed, the foundation would also magically redress itself
The 0.1% loan:
Quite analogous to buying a new luxury car when you can barely afford an alto, only because you got a good loan on it
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Old 17th September 2017, 11:11   #119
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

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I believe that we could've achieved the exact same thing at a fraction of the cost by cutting taxes on flights and improving our airport infrastructure
Trains, in general, makes sense in large, consistently high population density countries. Flights are better to connect 2 high-density hubs, with sparse population in-between. Airports are usually outside cities and usually require cabs from city center. Rail stations can be in the centre of the city or any neighbourhood.
Another factor is land acquisition costs required for tracks. These are some I could think off-hand, and there could be much more.
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So the basic gist is at Rs 1500, the train needs to make 100 trips per day serving 1 lakh people for it to break even financially.
Why aren't bullet trains used for freight? It opens up the possibility for companies like Amazon to offer delivery in few hours.

Last edited by msdivy : 17th September 2017 at 11:12.
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Old 17th September 2017, 11:13   #120
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Default Re: Bullet Train in India - What it means for the country?

I happen to live in a city which is on the proposed route of the bullet train. Also my parents live close to two thousand km away, so this train will provide me fast access to Mumbai or Ahmedabad airports so that I can attend any family emergencies. Right now it takes from 5 to 9 hours to reach airport, so at least for me and many others like me the bullet train is like a gift.
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