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Railways may ride Train 18 to $200bn market.

Date: 19-01-2019
Subject: Railways may ride Train 18 to $200bn market
NEW DELHI: The railways is planning an entry into the $200 billion global market for coaches and wagons (rolling stock) after producing Train 18  even as the government is yet to give a go ahead for its debut commercial operation between Delhi and Varanasi. One of the projects they are eyeing is the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) project which is currently stalled. 

 Rajesh Agrawal, member rolling stock of the railway board said countries from the middle-east, North and South America, south-east Asia and even east Europe have shown interest in Train 18. Sources said PM Narendra Modi has also asked the railways to make a presentation on the indigenously built train when heads of all Indian missions meet here so that they become a part of the exercise to popularise the train in countries where they are posted as a part of an economic diplomacy push. 

"We believe there is great potential in the semi-high speed category, that is between 150-250 kmph. We are ready to offer this to markets where HSR may be too expensive but this would be a viable alternative. The cost of these trains would be at least 25% less than what other countries spend for manufacturing on their land. We want to enter the global rolling stock market," Agrawal told TOI. 

 The government also has ambitious plans for the train. The Singapore-KL project was first scrapped by Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammed in 2018. Later it was deferred to a 2031 roll out, with a commitment to lowering the price of the project. Companies from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe are believed to have expressed interest in the project. India wants to add its name to this list - railway authorities believe that the project would be financially viable with a semi-high speed train. 

Train 18 can run at a speed of 180 kmph. 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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