Indian Railways has extended the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three engineering institutes to facilitate collaborative research for the modernisation of rail infrastructure.

The initiative includes the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, along with IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras.

According to local news reports, the MoU will help Indian Railways in leveraging knowledge and expertise of academia to support the development of new technologies and applications.

The collaboration will specifically support research on rail infrastructure, high-speed rail, maintenance of bridges, track management and remote asset monitoring among others.

Railway Board chairman and CEO Vinod Kumar Yadav said: “Indian Railways has witnessed a paradigm shift in organisational structure with segregation of management and research and development cadres.

“Research and development is our priority and it can be successful only if it is fully integrated with the on-ground situation. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership to foster cutting-edge research that will herald a transformation of Indian Railways.

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“Going forward, we also plan to restructure RDSO on lines of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).”

An entity under the Ministry of Railways, Indian Railways operates one of the largest railway networks in the world.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Indian Railways is planning to convert three-tier sleeper class and unreserved general class coaches to air-conditioned (AC) carriages.

The rail coach factory in Kapurthala is currently tasked to build the prototype of the upgraded sleeper class coach.