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Amtrak to Washington

October 4th, 2010 · 2 Comments

I took Amtrak to Washington from Newark, after a brief visit to meet my cousin. A train ride is something I always like. It took just under three hours to arrive at Union Station. Speeding through the US countryside and looking out of the window was very relaxing. For some reason, trains need to soothe, while short airline rides tend to make one more anxious

The train network is what the US built decades ago, and could definitely do with an upgrade in terms of speed – like China’s High Speed Rail.

Trains are the lifeline of a country. And upgradation of the train network is what India needs to invest in – we are still stuck in the 60-70 km/per hour average speed for the most part for our so-called “express/superfast” trains. That needs to at least double if not treble in the years to come. Mamata Banerjee could have inspired the nation bold and big initiatives during her short stint (since she is all set to take over as West Bengal CM next year after the elections), but I guess that is too much to expect from our political leadership.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rakesh Pal // Oct 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I think there is a lot that, the railway systems of India and US can learn from each other. I have been using Amtrak a lot to commute from NJ to Baltimore every week and it had always amazed me, how a railway system with world class facilities and rakes can so easily fallout of gear due to very small problems. I very often, had to face signaling or climate related issues that easily crippled the North East railway corridor. At those times I wished they had the efficiency of Indian railways. Efficiency in resolving issues, if not the actual service, is something that Indian railways have mastered. Managing a vast network has its own problems and implementing an effective process to overcome these problems is the first step that Indian railways know how to do. The next step is to undertake brave initiatives which will benefit commuters and take Indian railways to the next level. But that can happen only if politics is kept separate from Indian railways.

  • 2 Brian // Oct 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

    We look at speed and technology but transportation is many factors. It’s a matter of flow, as you often see waiting in traffic, at airports, or managing inventory and commodities. Communications and transportation industries have a lot to learn from each other – network from matrix, matrix from node, to coin a modern ode.

    I think it’s smart to firstly look at rights-of-way and develop strong teams that can identify and capitalize corrider. There’s much overlooked.

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