India, France recommit to take bilateral railway cooperation forward

New Delhi [India], April 13 (ANI): Railway ministers of India and France on Thursday recalled the long standing technical cooperation in the railways sector and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening it further.

Taking the Memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 as the benchmark for future cooperation, both ministers, Suresh Prabhu and Alain Vidalies, expressed a desire for a regular sharing of experience in order to address the common challenges.

Both sides agreed that mutual collaboration and exchange of expertise will benefit stakeholders in both countries.

They said that this collaboration between the two countries will in particular focus on the following areas:

. High speed and semi-high speed rail

. Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure

. Station renovation and operations

. Suburban trains

. Safety systems, operations and security

India has over 66,600 kilometers of railways and over 7000 stations, while France has 30,000 kilometers of railways, more than 2000 kilometers of high speed tracks and about 3000 stations.

The high speed network is still expanding. A global reflection on the place and purpose of stations in the city has been carried out recently and led to major renovation works in France. The security and improvement of the facilities is of course a constant concern in France.

On semi-high speed trains, the technical and execution study for upgrading on the current rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh (244 km) up to 200 kmph is likely to be completed by September 2017.

Relevant partners, including government entities, agencies and companies, scientific and technical research bodies and private companies, will be invited to join the cooperation, when appropriate, and under the umbrella cooperation program of two sides. (ANI)