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Indian Railways targets Switzerland-like efficiency, gets ready to learn Swiss Railway’s tricks of trade

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DAVOS : Indian Railways is seeking to take a leaf out Swiss Railways in an effort to try and imbibe some of the legendary clockwork precision of the European nation’s famed systems and processes.

Indian Railways is planning for an MoU with the Swiss railway to learn from their best practices such as the hub and spoke model and tunnelling technology, Railway Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw told news agency PTI at the ongoing WEF Summit on January 18 here.

Not just new tech, India can also learn much in even conventional technology from a collaboration with the Swiss, the minister said.

Swiss Rail tech for India

According to reports, Vaishnaw recently visited Switzerland and had a meeting with senior officials and policy makers of Swiss railways. During his visit, he also had the opportunity to explore their control center and see first-hand their expertise in tunnelling technology.

It may be mentioned here that the world’s longest 57-km Gotthard tunnel is in Switzerland.

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The minister also made a mention of Switzerland’s high-level track technology — particularly the “intriguing” track structure.

Speaking of the Swiss hub and spoke model, the minister explained that if a city like Zurich is considered a hub, several trains arrive at Zurich station simultaneously, making it convenient for passengers to switch to other trains. After the changeover, several trains leave the station around the same time, he added.

In contrast to that Swiss model, India basically focuses on providing end-to-end connectivity.

Railways targets clockwork precision

“They have six hubs, each with numerous connecting spokes. Trains arrive and depart together at these hubs, with a greater emphasis on facilitating smooth changeovers,” Vaishnaw said.

The minister also underlined Switzerland’s excellent inter-connectivity between different modes of public transport.

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Vaishnaw noted that in Switzerland, there are very good inter-connections between trains, buses, cable cars, metro, etc., and passengers can conveniently use any mode of transport with a common card or ticket.

Switzerland has a dense railway network which is spread over 5,200 kilometers. Almost the entire network is electrified, except for specific areas where steam locomotives are used to cater to the tourism industry.

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