India, France to partner in railways cooperation

Indian Railways has entered into an agreement with SNCF Mobilites, France's national state-owned railway company, on technical cooperation in the field of railways

May 16, 2018

The agreement facilitates exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and workshops focused on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing

The cooperation covers the key areas of: 1) High speed and semi-high speed rail; 2) Station renovation and operations; 3) Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure; and 4) Suburban trains

The state-run Indian Railways, the backbone of the national transport infrastructure, runs the world’s third largest rail network, ferrying more than 23 million passengers daily on its over 12,600 trains

Indian Railways received foreign direct investment inflow of US$390 million over April 2014 to December 2017; This has been utilised in upgradation and expansion of of railway equipment and infrastructure

Indian Railways has entered into a preliminary agreement with SNCF Mobilites, France’s national state-owned railway company, for technical cooperation in the field of railways. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was apprised of the agreement on May 16th. The agreement was signed on March 16th. The agreement provides a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. It will also facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and workshops focused on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing. The cooperation framework between Indian Railways and SNCF Mobilites covers the key areas of: 1) High speed and semi-high speed rail; 2) Station renovation and operations; 3) Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure; and 4) Suburban trains.

Indian Railways has been a leading avenue for the Central Government to both seek as well as offer technical and financial assistance globally. The state-run agency runs the world’s third largest rail network, ferrying more than 23 million passengers daily on its over 12,600 trains. Indian Railways received foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflow of US$390 million over April 2014 to December 2017. The foreign funding has been utilised for manufacturing of rolling stock (coaches and wagons including its parts), signalling equipment and locomotives (diesel and electric) as well as parts of locomotives. The foreign cooperation comes as the crucial transport system is going through broad changes to increase capacity and improve service. As a result, Indian Railways reported record passenger earnings of US$7.4 billion during financial year 2017-18 after rising 4.3 per cent from the previous year.

In the current financial year, Indian Railways is set to invest around US$4.8 billion in rolling stock, including diesel and electric locomotives, wagons and passenger coaches. The agency, which makes up the backbone of Indian transportation, is expected to soon come up with a bulk tender for 38,000 wagons in a month. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Railways has signed preliminary agreements with China, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, the UK, Russia and Germany for cooperation in high speed railways. An agreement has been signed with Government of Japan for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project which includes provisions under transfer of technology and “Make in India”. Several foreign governments and railways have also shown keen interest in the station redevelopment program. These include French Railway (SNCF), Korean Railway, Governments of Germany, China and the UK.

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