India is seeking Japanese technology to upgrade its railways as part of a $140bn five-year action plan.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between the Indian Railways’ research wing Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), and the Technical Research Institute of Japan to undertake research work on modern technology.
Japan will send a team to India to study investment opportunities in 400 stations identified for modernisation through private partnership.
The Indian Railways will also seek Japan’s assistance in drafting a legal and regulatory framework on high-speed rail network, and reaching its goal of zero accidents.
Sanitation in trains and stations is another area where India expects Japan’s help to develop waterless and odourless toilets.
Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has discussed the issues with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso during his visit to Japan this week.
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In August, the Indian Railways has signed an MoU with Slovak Republic on technical cooperation in station development and workshop modernisation, rolling stock, signalling and telecom, and passenger amenities.
Last week, the railways has announced its intention to collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation to improve track efficiency through satellite images. The images will help in mapping the routes.
ISRO will also provide satellite communication services that could lead to onboard Wi-Fi services in trains.
A senior railway ministry official involved with GIS mapping project was quoted by the Indian Express as saying: "We will undertake a massive exercise of GIS mapping of the entire rail route and assets, including buildings, land, workshops and other facilities in the network using geospatial technology.
"We will sign an MoU with ISRO shortly to avail the online satellite images to create a GIS platform."
Image: Indian Railways is seeking to modernise its stations and improve facilities in trains. Photo: courtesy of KALX999 via Wikipedia.