Special Article : Innovation – The Evolver Of Rail Infra

Evolution is essence of continuous rapid metamorphosis of the universe. And Science, application of awareness & knowledge to make human life comfortable, is enabler of all breakthrough and disruption innovations. Humankind being experiencing the revolutionized growth as that is evident from various industrialization which started 150 years back from Industry 1.0 to currently on verge of Industry 4.0. This not only made possible to connect global population through breakthrough information architecture to now on threshold of intercommunication of raw material, machines and production cycles to make products of superior quality and efficiency without intervention of human.

There is significant shift in focus from innovative quantity to innovation quality as well breaking impermeable innovation glass ceiling comes from India who is hungered to thrive and lead the economics of world. Shift of paradigm from quantity to quality can be construed from continuously evolution in types of train from passenger, Shatabdi, Metro to T18, Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS), Semi High Speed to finally on Bullet Train. Introduced engineless, semi highspeed Train 18 with trains having aluminium body makes look more aesthetic, light weight, energy efficient and durable. Passenger traffic expects to grow around 15% per annum to reach 168,875 BPKM (billion passenger kilometre) by 2031-32 where railway may grow around 9% per annum and road traffic to be around 15.4%. There will be consistent higher share of rail in total freight traffic in compare to road. Thereby, rail and road to grow about 12% and 8% per annum respectively to achieve 50% each share in total freight traffic at the end of 15th 5-year plan.

India wants to attain position vide innovation by exercising disruption through nature given large population. This calls for differentiation in execution of freight corridors as well attracting world with modest tariff to gain multiple folds in passenger market share in railway segment out of various modes of transportation.

There is consistent changes and evolution with passage of time after understanding the axis of domain and associated problem through phases of research, breakthrough innovation, disruptive innovation to reach towards universal goal of sustainable innovation. In this line of thinking, technology innovation has four phases as:
Phase 1 – 1951 to 1985 where steam loco had predominantly share more than 50%.

Phase 2 – 1985 to 2012 where steam loco share declined from almost 1/3rd to extinct whereas diesel & electric loco share enhanced from 1/3rd to ½.

Phase 3 – 2012 to 2022 where electric loco becoming dominant with usage of renewable energy expects to reach about 1/4th of its total power usage.

Phase 4 – the most sustained environment with establishing solar mission of around 5 GW to meet the requisite traction power.

The focused Dedicated Freight Corriodor shall be capitalizing the freight market share from currently 1/3rd to ½ by 2032 with efficiency being brought on Food Miles, the distance that food we eat typically travels from farm to our eating plate. The supply bottlenecks in the agriculture sector can be alleviated through increased connectivity across the country. Low speed of the existing railway limits the railway’s competitiveness in passenger transport. This shall be overcome from introductory to gaining maturity of expansion of semi high speed and high-speed trains in bringing substantial growth in passenger traffic Thereby, railway passenger traffic volume being envisaged to enhance three folds by 2032 from current level.

Competitive fares of High-Speed Rails (HSR) with bus and airfares as urban income and population continue to rise in India, thereby, attracting passengers from all income groups, shall be enabler of rapid economy growth of country. The large HSR investment program will be encouraging the development of innovative and competitive capacity of equipment manufacture and construction and the ability to amortize the capital cost of construction equipment over multiple projects. HSR will be contributing in rebalancing growth geographically to reduce income disparity and enhance inclusiveness. Revamping of railway stations by renovation & upgradation of state of art amenities, posh waiting room, airport like entryexit system, shopping complexes shall be extra benefit to pull off passenger traffic volume. Each of world’s major economics have a few mega ports that are well-connected with inland transport system whereas at present India has no such mega ports. A good proportion of India’s maritime trade is transhipped in Colombo or Singapore. Thereby, establishing few mega ports over period shall be enhancing India’s share of world trade. To drive this initiative, India has established Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited for efficient last mile connectivity. Innovation is main driver of economic and social development. The definition of innovation has broadened with no longer restricted to only R&D laboratories and publishing scientific papers. It originates from research & development investments, international patent, social & business model, technical innovation, provides tool for decision makers & detailed metrics for refining policies, trademark applications to newer indicators such as mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports. Although, recently there has been slow economic growth, innovation continues to blossom as becoming economic power centre needs transformation in geography of innovation.

There always exists the polarity of bad to good & worst to best and key sustainable innovative approach shall be in converting the biggest problem in our survival, exponential growing population, to create economy on strength of its exorbitant large population. The correct unit multiplication with much weightage to bottom of pyramid yields many folds jump not only to become world’s leading economy but as well power centre of the Globe. Innovation Index currently plays an influential role to guide countries on how to build a more innovative economy and thereby, India is continuously lifting its position on base of more enabling policies and practices for envisagement of top 25 globally innovative nations.

Virtual worlds are revolutionizing with elimination of gap between experimentation and learning to bring personalized experience for individual comfort. Thus, progressively robust railway development by 15th five-year planning is evident. It certainly shall be the economic driver of India’s growth with capturing 50% share in freight domain as well mammoth evolution coupled with innovations to transcend from passenger traffic of 1509 BPKM in FY 2017 to 5765 BPKM by FY 2032 with attaining leadership in decarbonization by entire electrification of tracks with 100% renewable energy driven railway. Despite such mega growth, passenger share by that time may be around only 3%. Thereby, still after going through massive series of innovations, we shall be left with ample scope to further innovate as it should not be perceived as the end but a humble beginning to continue with paradigm of evolution since continuum of innovation always persists.

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