In a recent interview with PTI at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the minister highlighted the learning opportunities and collaboration potential with Switzerland in both modern and conventional technologies.
He emphasized the valuable insights gained from meetings with senior officials and policymakers of Swiss railways, where the focus was on tunnelling technology. The minister praised Switzerland’s expertise in this field, citing the world’s longest 57-km Gotthard tunnel. Additionally, he commended Switzerland’s well-developed track technology, particularly the “interesting” structure of their tracks.
Ashwini Vaishnaw minister observed a crucial aspect of Switzerland’s railway network, highlighting its hub-and-spoke design. In this model, multiple trains converge at a central hub, such as Zurich, allowing passengers to easily switch to other trains that depart around the same time.
This approach differs from India’s emphasis on end-to-end connectivity, connecting distant cities like Bhagalpur to Bengaluru or Kolkata to Chennai, Vaishnaw said. Switzerland, on the other hand, employs six hubs with numerous connecting spokes, emphasizing synchronized arrivals and departures for efficient changeovers. The focus in their network planning is on the hub-and-spoke model, as opposed to end-to-end connectivity.
The minister spoke about the opportunity for learning and collaboration with Swiss railways through a memorandum of understanding. He commended Switzerland’s efficient inter-connectivity among various public transport modes, including trains, buses, cable cars, and metro. Passengers enjoy seamless travel across these modes using a common card or ticket. Switzerland boasts a dense railway network spanning 5,200 kms, predominantly electrified, with exceptions for tourism-centric steam locomotives in certain areas.
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