India’s cows are famous for making themselves comfortable amidst traffic jams but now they are getting in the way of trains. Bullet trains, in fact.
India is travelling at breakneck speed to introduce bullet trains by 2023, but the foreign contractor engaged for the project is apprehensive about cud-chewing cows crossing the tracks and endangering safety.
The project was initially estimated to cost 14.6 billion dollars, but realizing that cattle crossing rail tracks are a ubiquitous danger in India, the contractor has upped the cost to 16 billion dollars, Bloomberg reported.
To avoid cows, the bullet train builders will have to build underpasses, for which land would have to be acquired.
Initially it was thought it would be enough to fence off the track and the Commissioner of Railway Safety ordered fencing all along the Delhi-Agra route to assess its efficacy. Railway engineers, however, argued that even if the entire track were to be fenced, it would not stop cattle or even people from coming in the way of trains at level crossings.
The government then switched to options like building elevated railroads to avoid disasters. Therefore the cost overrun.
The Railway Ministry has asked the Japanese consultants to redraw its detailed project report (DPR) factoring in cow crossings all along the 508 km long corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
“Land acquisition hurdles as well as the people and animals potentially wandering in front of carriages speeding at 350 km an hour make the option of an elevated link attractive,” livemint.com reported.
The bullet train is expected to help drag India’s railways into the 21st century. Earlier this week, the Railways had the first trial run of the Spanish-built Talgo on the Bareilly-Moradabad route in Uttar Pradesh.
Talgo brought its coaches to India and integrated them with an Indian Railways engine.