In a move aimed at cooperation between the two giant railway systems of the world, Indian Railways and Chinese Railways signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing this week during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visit to China.
Dr Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, were present when the memorandum of understanding was signed between K C Jena, chairman, Indian Railway Board and Liu Zhijun, the Chinese minister for railways.
Valid for three years, the memorandum of understanding envisages development of rail related programmes, consultations, training and visits to each others' facilities.
Chinese Railways carries the highest level of freight traffic in the world and also a very high level of passenger traffic. It has undertaken considerable network expansion, speed raising, modernisation and technology upgradation during the last 10 years and has a very ambitious programme for the next decade.
The areas in which cooperation with Chinese Railways will be sought are increasing speed on existing routes, development of world-class stations, heavy haul operations, development of multimodal logistics parks and in research and development.
The Chinese Railways' experience in the areas of signalling and telecommunication, traction supply, high axle load operations, design and maintenance practices, track machines, development and operations, multimodal transport in the rail sector are said to be of interest to Indian Railways.
Indian Railways has, of late, made tremendous progress in different sectors of its operations leading to great turnaround in its functioning and is fully gearing up towards modernisation, technological upgradation, capacity enhancement and development of world class services.
Jena and Zhijun held wide-ranging discussions on various aspects of railway operations with the hosts being said to be very enthusiastic on cooperating with Indian Railways and officials from Chinese Railways expected to visit India to finalise details and modalities of cooperation.