In a strategic move to enhance its operational efficiency and learn from global best practices, Indian Railways is set to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss railway, focusing on adopting key methodologies and technologies.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw made this announcement during an interview with PTI at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
Vaishnaw emphasised the significant insights that could be gained by collaborating with Switzerland, citing their expertise in areas such as the hub and spoke model and tunnelling technology.
“There are many good things that can be learned, and there are some conventional technologies where we can learn by collaborating with Switzerland,” said the minister.
During his visit to Switzerland, Vaishnaw had productive meetings with senior officials and policymakers of Swiss railways, along with a visit to their control centre. He highlighted Switzerland’s expertise in tunnelling technology, notably citing the world’s longest 57-km Gotthard tunnel.
One of the key takeaways from Switzerland’s railway system that caught Vaishnaw’s attention is its hub and spoke design.
“Their entire network is based on a hub and spoke design. For example, if Zurich is a hub, then several trains arrive at Zurich station at one particular time, facilitating easy changeovers for passengers,” he explained.
In contrast to India’s focus on end-to-end connectivity, Vaishnaw observed that Switzerland’s railway network is more oriented towards the hub and spoke model. “They have six hubs, and all of them have many connecting spokes. Trains arrive together at all six hubs and depart together. Their focus is more on changeovers,” he added.
Highlighting the upcoming memorandum of understanding with Swiss railways, Vaishnaw expressed optimism about further improving India’s railway system. He also commended Switzerland for its seamless interconnectivity between different modes of public transport, where passengers can use a common card or ticket for trains, buses, cable cars, metro, and more, reports Economic Times.
Switzerland boasts a dense railway network with over 5,200 km of electrified tracks, making it a valuable source of knowledge for India’s evolving railway infrastructure.
The collaboration is expected to pave the way for the exchange of expertise and advancements in technology between the two countries’ railway systems.