Learn from China! High-speed rail network for economic viability in developing countries
India is transforming its public transport system through high-speed rail networks in major cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune, and interstate high-speed rail projects such as the Mumbai High Speed Rail -Ahmedabad. This opens up a huge opportunity for India’s developing economy post Covid 19.
How does high-speed rail facilitate economic growth?
Take the example of China, a developing country like India, with the largest population in the world. The Chinese development model and its five-year plans have placed the high-speed rail network (TGV) at the heart of economic growth, as the report presented by the world Bank in 2019. China has the most extensive configuration of high-speed railways in the world, with more than 25,000 kilometers of stretch since its launch in 2008.
World Bank (China) Country Director Martin Raiser said the impact of high-speed networks goes beyond mere urbanization. This includes – “changing patterns of urban development, promoting regional economic growth and increasing tourism. Large numbers of people can now travel more easily and reliably than ever before.” It also lays the foundation for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and an environmentally conscious economy.
Economic choice for people
The most important advantage of high-speed rail is the rate of return, which was estimated at 8% in 2015, higher than other countries’ expenditure and cost of capital in terms of long-term urban infrastructure. It is an economical choice for ordinary people as China’s high-speed rail competes with roads and airways for distances of up to 1,200 kilometers. Its tariffs represent a quarter of the rail networks of other countries. About 1.7 billion passengers per year from all economic strata travel by LGV.
India is catching up
The construction and maintenance of a vast HSR network required a national commitment. National High Speed Railway Company Limited (NHSRCL) was established in 2016 through the Companies Act 2013, which aimed to construct, maintain and finance HSR corridors in India.
Recently, the Ministry of Railways announced a collaboration with IIT Madras on May 19, 2022. They will create an indigenous “Hyperloop” transport system, as The new Indian Express reported. ‘Hyperloop’ is a railway technology that uses magnetic drift to transport low-pressure tubes on the ground, and can transport people and goods at the speed of an airplane. This technology can help make India carbon neutral and has low energy demand.
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