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Hi-speed trains will be introduced gradually: Lalu

Lalu Prasad said the government is in favour of high speed trains but they would be introducted only gradually.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 17:12 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Saturday said the government is in favour of high speed trains but they would be introducted only gradually, and the priority now was to educate people about the upkeep and maintenance of railways.

"High speed trains would be introduced in a piecemeal manner," he said when asked about the introduction of bullet trains in India at a conference here on infrastructure.

However, he said, additional financial resources were required to launch such trains as they needed fencing and other upgraded services.

Trains in Europe and elsewhere operated with fencing on both sides of the tracks, which was not possible in India because of the vastness of the network and other factors.

Prasad said a train reaching maximum speed of 150 km per hour was operational between Delhi and Agra, but the fencing wires along tracks were stolen and several other hurdles created in its operation.

He also stressed on the need to create awareness among people on the need to maintain rail networks.

"One can see how rubbish is thrown on the rail tracks, how people run at unmanned level crossings. Now you are talking about bullet trains."

Referring to his recent visit to five European countries, the Minister said, "I find that the railways there are running in losses. They are running on subsidies due to their high operational costs."

Prasad, who will soon visit China to study the operation of Magnet Trains, said while passenger traffic in India was growing by 8 to 10 per cent, European rail services were making losses due to depleting numbers of passengers.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 17:12 IST