Trains, Planes and Harrowed Passengers

I read 2 news items today with great interest

1. China has officially clocked the world’s fastest train at a mind blowing 481 km/h. This is the world’s fastest electric unmodified commercial train

2. Greedy Airlines in India would like to charge as much as Rs. 40,000 for domestic flights.

Let’s put this in context.  If you had to travel from Delhi to Mumbai (about 1150 KM air distance), the new chinese train will take 2 hours and 24 minutes.  Compare this with about 2 hours of flying time for a flight.  If you are flying, you will also check in earlier (90 minutes) plus wait for your baggage to arrive (30 minutes).  Railway stations are usually in the heart of the city whereas airports are not.  This could mean another 1-2 hours of travel time.  It will therefore take you about 5-6 hours of time if you were flying compared to 2 hours 24 minutes by train.

This speed of 481 kmph is of course top speed and one can not expect to travel at this speed throughout.  Even if you assumed an average speed of 360 kmph and a train distance of 1400KM, it will take you  less than 4 hours to get to Delhi from Mumbai.

Trains have other benefits too.  They are environmentally friendly compared to Planes and the journey is much more comfortable as well.

There are of infrastructural challenges which need to be addressed but I am all for getting these high speed trains to India.