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Indo-French Seminar on Rail Sector
Dec 01, 2014

India and France organised a daylong Indo-French Rail Seminar on High and Semi-High Speed, Multimodal Stations–Infrastructure and Financing in New Delhi recently. This seminar aims to expand the scope of Indo-French cooperation in the railways sector with emphasis on developing high-speed and semi-high-speed train systems in India and the creation of multimodal stations integrating several modes of public transport.

There are multiple areas in Rail sector where India and France can work together. Both countries need to find solutions and prepare plans of action for mutual cooperation. India called upon French companies to increase their presence in India as doing business in India is not that cumbersome. Referring to the emphasis on high speed travel India said that there is a section of commuters who are willing to pay a higher fare and want high speed travel and Indian railways has earnestly embarked upon the path of developing high speed corridors in India.

India sought cooperation of France in high speed train operations and also in areas of safety, customer service and station development and multimodal stations. India said that safety is of paramount importance in the interest of commuters. As a commuter spends maximum time in a rail compartment, there is a need to upgrade and innovate facilities and services to make it more comfortable. India is trying to develop its rail network to global standards and the cooperation with countries like France will be quite meaningful to achieve this objective.

The seminar was organized jointly by Indian Railways and the Regional Economic Department of the Embassy of France in India, with the objective of bringing together recognized specialists in the railway sector from France and India, and brainstorm to find the best solutions for an Indian high-speed and semi-high speed railway along with multimodal stations. French expertise and technology, brought by the French companies operating in India, can play their role in this process. Three sessions were organized during the seminar, each with a specific focus.

India and France have a long-standing bilateral co-operation in the railway sector of over 30 years. This was given a concrete shape by the signing of the first protocol in 2003. During the State Visit to India by the President of France, Francois Hollande, in February 2013, the French Railways (SNCF), and Indian Railways (IR) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding centred on 4 key areas of co-operation:

  1. High-speed trains

  2. Station renovation

  3. Urban trains

  4. Railway network modernization.


In June 2014, the French Railways (SNCF) concluded and presented to the Indian Railways a feasibility study on operations and development for high speed rail on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor (534 km). This report is under examination of the Railway Board.


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