原文标题:A tortoise named Duranto trains
Our poor railway network is a reflection of how we, as a nation, wait for things to happen unlike China that makes things happen.
To date, India, with one of the largest railway networks in the world, doesn’t have a single kilometre of railway that can be called high-speed, dedicated to trains running at 200 km or more an hour.
To date, China has 8,358 km of such tracks laid out and in service and 17,000 km more under construction.
Readers may draw their own conclusions. As far as I am concerned, the attitudinal difference of the two nations couldn’t be starker.
We keep hoping things will fall in place by themselves some day. They think “some day” isn’t good enough when a nation waits to grow, and things must be made to fall in place.
The railways are just one example of how they’re forcing things to fall in place, instead of simply waiting for them to happen.
Our fastest trains still can’t best 160 km per hour. Their latest bullet between Shanghai and Beijing runs at 300 km per hour, bringing the two cities, 1,318 km apart, within five hours of each other.
We may have as many Durantos as we like, but, in today’s speeding world, these are nothing but a bunch of tortoises in disguise, let loose to fool a gullible nation.
The hares are much wiser now and slow and steady is no longer a race-winning quality.
We may not bother because even a bullock cart is capable of getting us to our destination, some day. But we aren’t in bullock-cart India.
If we wish to be seen as a dynamic economy, we have to be seen to be moving faster too, since economic growth, after all, is a matter of overcoming time and space barriers to expand opportunities and benefits.
Growth scenarios change when distances shrink and airways alone aren’t a good enough substitute for efficient surface transportation simply because of the breadth of physical ground the latter is able to cover along the way.
This is something we don’t seem to comprehend. There’s no better way to bring growth to virgin or little-exploited countryside, and transform it into an integrated economic hinterland, than to build a full-blown network of speedier roads and railways.
Our highways, for the most part, are like dressed-up country roads, where even cyclists and pedestrians demand the right of way. Our railways haven’t advanced much beyond their colonial past and hardly run on time.
Of course, we have half a dozen high-speed rail corridors in mind, but for now they’re only visions.
Let’s be happy with that, calling up mental images of our very own bullets hurtling across our landscape at 200 km or 350, even 500, if you like an hour. Isn’t mind travel the best form of travel for the lazy, where speed has no limit?
China is obsessive about reducing distances and overcoming the vastness of its geographic space.
It has had at least six speed increases on its trains nationwide since 1997. In the Beijing-Shanghai section itself, travel time has come down from 14 hours in 2001 to nine hours and 48 minutes in 2006.
Now, with 300 km-per-hour bullets in service, one can make the journey in less than five hours. It reflects a degree of keenness to improve, to bring the nation closer together in every possible way, which India has so far been unable to show.
Actually, two sets of high-speed trains are being introduced on the Beijing-Shanghai route, 90 trains in all.
Sixty-three trains will run at 300 km per hour, covering the distance in four hours and 48 minutes, while 27 trains will run at 250 km per hour with a travel time of seven hours and 56 minutes.
What does it mean for travellers? A train every five minutes during daily peak hours! And when one remembers that all the 136 existing trains on this route, running on separate tracks, are also going to stay, the connectivity assumes the dimensions of a virtual metro network.
Connectivity at increasing levels of efficiency is the name of the game, and China has been at it heart and soul with its railways since 2005.
Its aim is to have 120,000 km of total railways by 2015, of which 45,000 km will be high-speed, including 8,870 km of railways with top speeds of 350 km per hour.
Will this put us into introspection? Don’t even ask. Introspection is not in our nature. Besides, the moment China and India are compared, our nationalist bristles begin to stand up and the dictatorship-versus-democracy arguments start flying.
All other questions become moot, even harmless ones like why do we keep introducing more and more lumbering trains on the same old tracks that haven’t been renewed for ages? Is it progress? Doesn’t efficiency matter? Is it forbidden in a democracy?
by Manas Sen (View MyPage) on Jul 09, 2011 08:12 PM | Hide replies
indian railways is a joke. dirty stations, dirtier trains, awful food are the order of the day. it will remain like this forever if mamata and her cohorts are allowed to run the railways.
300 km per hour train
by xavier v (View MyPage) on Jul 09, 2011 07:50 PM | Hide replies
It will take another 100 yrs for India to have 300 km per train. In India corruption should have control. Corruption is the major desease in India.
We are ahead of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal
by TandaPaani (View MyPage) on Jul 09, 2011 07:19 PM | Hide replies
thats what matters and we are good, cannot compare horses to don_keys…
we dont mind
by ctsh (View MyPage) on Jul 09, 2011 11:39 AM | Hide replies
we dont mind about speed if Railways can maintain all coaches and stations clean. People are okay with the current avg speed of trains in India. what they are looking for is proper maintenance and responsibility..
by V Chandrasekhar (View MyPage) on Jul 05, 2011 08:23 PM | Hide replies
In the last 25 years i have not seen any increase in the speed of the trains.Political leaders are still thinking that we are in the pre-independence era and trains are meant charity.
Re: INdian railways
by bigben bigben (View MyPage) on Jul 09, 2011 08:23 PM
Yes, that is the real issue. Not bullet trains. We need to increase our avg train speeds from 50kmph to 100kmph. Can you imagine Mumbai-Chennai or Delhi-Mumbai in 12 hours? People will forever vote for that railway minister who accomplishes this.
by drunken monk (View MyPage) on Jul 05, 2011 06:46 PM | Hide replies
Our Railway tracks are the biggest toilets that India has. Can this get eradicated? when will people use their own toilets. Indian Railways should really look into this.
Democracy is a curse
by Sachin (View MyPage) on Jul 05, 2011 02:57 PM | Hide replies
For a country like India, Democracy is a curse. What will happen when people ( or shall I say two legged Animals) who do not know how to read or write, sell their votes for a bottle of alcohol or 100 rupee note ????,or just because the candidate belongs to their caste???.The only thing these animals are intrested in is filling their stomach, and mating (producing children).
Thanks the colonization
by Raj Gupta (View MyPage) on Jul 05, 2011 10:18 AM | Hide replies
UK left 55000 km of railways when India got independence in 1947. Now India has expanded the networ to 65000 km with the hard work of 64 years.
China has expanded the network from 20000 km to almost 90000 km since 1949.
by tharkabhushanam ramachandran (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 11:23 PM | Hide replies
Higher speed is not a symbol of growth or prosperity. What we need is large connectivity and prompt and courteous service
Be proud of your rail network
by Gazanfar Azmi (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 11:19 PM | Hide replies
Chinese Speed trains are very expensive and only the rich can afford it. This year in Feb, when chinese had their holidays., most labourers who wanted to go home could not afford these trains. I am proud of our network. With our current infrastructure , we can have much better efficiency.
We Indian are lucky
by adevdoss (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 06:36 PM | Hide replies
If our trains were to run at 300kmph we would have the whole compartment filled with flying crap from the hole in the toilet floor.
Chennai to Bombay in 24 hours
by Raja (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 04:26 PM | Hide replies
Shnagai to Biejing same distance as Chennai to Mumbai, but here even a flight takes longer time. Shame Shame Shame
by Prem Mohan (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 04:07 PM | Hide replies
I am a regular traveller by Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani. All the stations and the impressive river bridges were built by the British over a hundred years ago. Would our engineers be able to accomplish such a feat?
Also, the average speed of the Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani is 84 kmph. If this could be increased to 100 kmph, travellers would be able to travel overnight between Calcutta and Delhi.
India cannot catch up with China
by palanki narayana (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 04:05 PM | Hide replies
China built a railway track of 1142km in mere four years,at an elevation of 5072m above sea level.The workers had to carry oxygen bottles while laying the track in freezing weather.There was not a single casualty.Maglev trains from Pu Dong airport to town centre,cover a distance of 30km in eight minutes.Maglev trains travel at 430km per hour.
Compare with the time taken for us to complete Konkan Railway strech,Vidya sagar setu or metro rial in our metropolises,the number of lives lost or cost over-runs.It is an insult to snails to be compared to Indian officials.
Mamata Banerji was Railway minister for West Bengal,not for whole of India.Ram Bilas Paswan expanded the workforce but not the rail network.Jaffer Shariff,Ghani Khan Chowdhary used railway resources to nurse their constituencies. There is a small irritation with Duranto and other trains.Who thought up the colour scheme for painting the bogies? Enough to make one throw up.
by surendra joshi (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 03:47 PM | Hide replies
Dear boroon dada! please migrate to china. try writing such articles and then u will realise what is difference between india and china. its India that u can bark at and live in as well.
Good thing of Comparing with China we cannot give excuse of .
by Oye Kake (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 03:12 PM | Hide replies
Good thing of Comparing with China we cannot give excuse of Population also 🙂
by Yusuf Garothwala (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 01:31 PM | Hide replies
This author is only interested in bashing India and praising China. We want solutions and not speech.
China is 100 times a head of India.
by Sandy W (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 12:13 PM | Hide replies
India should compare them with Pakistan, Iraq or Afghanistan. China is 100 times a head of India.
by ashok kumar (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 11:21 AM | Hide replies
Very nice article!!! Its no use comparing China and India….In India we wait for things to happen….in China they make it happen….of course not all is rosy for China….China has lot of enemies waiting to pull it down…..China’s mega-projects(like the Three Gorges dam) are a recipe for environmental disaster…..
Having said that no one can deny the progress made by that country…Today China is the envy of the world….World class infrastructure/Biggest trading nation/2nd biggest military/2nd biggest economy/No. 1 in forex reserves…..In this there is a lesson for us as individuals too….its better to make things happen rather than waiting for things to happen….
by mustafa kesuri (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 11:16 AM | Hide replies
In China Nobody cross railway lines or do shits on track,thats why they can run train at that speed with safety for both passenger and train. But in India we cross railway lines despite its dangerous or do shits on track,thats why for the safety of this illiterate people govt are force to run trains slow. Why are u all blaming govt, First change your attitude and then ask for the change
China vs India
by Aftab Kamal (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:59 AM | Hide replies
China is giving India and Indians a national inferiority complex forcing Indians to fart in public. Some of us have already thrown in the towel. Thinking of competing with China was ruled out as a policy when the Chinese taught our great Jwaharlal Nehru a lesson.
The military hardware and support that China doles out to Pakistan is an immense problem for India to counter. As of now, we can take on China in our dreams. By the way Chinese have exactly the same views when it come to China-US comparison. Chinese feel the Chinese government must speed up their R&D and military prowess to catch up with US.
by Yogender Singh (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:50 AM | Hide replies
Earlier, when people used to compare India with west, most common excuse was our population. Now that China is developing at amazing pace, excuse given is of dictatorship.
Why only railways ? Look at roads – most of the highways are not worth calling so. On any road, there will be maintenance, digging, patching throughout the year, no one can complain, great democracy.
A Road is constructed & then some electricity or gas or cable or sewarage agency will come out to lay their items digging everything out, as if these could not be planned together. And just check, all those responsible for getting these jobs done, do not even bother & you & I can not tell anything. Great democracy again.
Mumbai and Delhi are even better connected
by KVSK Prasad (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:42 AM | Hide replies
I say Mumbai and Delhi are even better connected. A flight from Mumbai takes only a little over an hour to reach Delhi, whereas a train from Shanghai to Beijing takes well over 5 hours. So, what is faster??
Re: Mumbai and Delhi are even better connected
by wizardo id (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:43 AM
apples and oranges comparison
What’s the hurry ?
by aditya ch (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:37 AM | Hide replies
The Indian railways are slow so that you enjoy the picturesque rural countryside while travelling. How else do you appreciate what’s going in our beautiful country. It also gives you sufficient time to interact with your fellow passengers and sometimes they become friends for life.
Also if someone is in a real hurry he/she can always take the flight!
by Ashok Chandrasekar (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 10:23 AM | Hide replies
I think it is a very well written article. Though Indian railways is trying to improve it is far beyond. When you compare with China in all other areas, this comparisson is also valid. It will take many more years before we can achieve anything that China has achieved.
Growth and Indian democracy
by Observer (View MyPage) on Jul 04, 2011 09:20 AM | Hide replies
In a land traditionally ruled by kings and samrats, when you introduce democracy, everybody wants to be a king. Democracy is not the right option for India to achieve growth. It is ok for gaining equality, et all, but to achieve growth, a country like ours needs benevolent dictatorship