Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Integrated Rail Transportation System

August 1st, 2005 · No Comments

Atanu Dey writes:

The crux of my argument is that information and communications technology (ICT) plays a supportive role in an economy. Not unlike in a body, where the nervous system though critical is worthless unless the musculo-skeletal is robust, the digital network is worthless unless there is an underlying non-digital economy of stuff such as manufacturing, agriculture, and services. You need to have factories and farms, roads and railways, schools and shops, houses and hospitals not just broadband digital 3.5G MP3 camera phones for surfing the web.

What India needs to pay attention to is the underlying hard economy which is the infrastructure upon which the soft economy of internet and services can ride. In this one, I will briefly focus on one bit of the hard economy: the railroad transportation system.

Steel wheel over steel rails is the most efficient method of transporting goods and people, especially when both volumes and distances are large. It is super efficient and clean because of a number of reasons. First, because steel wheels over steel rails have very low friction and with aerodynamically designed trains, you can have the least cost per ton per mile. Next, you dont have to use fossil fuels. You can generate electricity using whatever technology and power the trains. Third, you can use the same system the tracks and the signaling and switching system for both passengers as well as goods.

The core of the IRTS is a very fast rail network connecting the major population centers. The backbone of the system is high speed trains that move between metros such as Mumbai and Kolkata (via Nagpur), between Delhi and Bangalore/Chennai (again via Nagpur.) These I call the Cross Links which are different from the Diagonal Links which go between Mumbai and Delhi (via Ahmedabad), Delhi and Kolkata (via Kanpur), Kolkata and Bangalore/Chennai (via Hyderabad), and Bangalore to Mumbai.

Also read a follow-up post by Atanu.

Tags: Deeshaa (Rural Development)

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