French kiss for Mumbai railway

Impressed by the Indian Railways, especially its operations in Mumbai, the French National Railways (SNCF) has committed to work with the former in developing the High Speed Rail corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai and the elevated corridor on Western Railway, said a senior railway official.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed Thursday between the Indian Railways and the SNCF (Socieite Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais), said an officer from Railway Board in Delhi. As a part of the MOU, which was signed between Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board and Guillaume Pepe, Chairman and CEO, SNCF, the two Railways will cooperate on the High Speed Rail corridor, the elevated suburban corridors, modernization of infrastructure, railway stations and suburban trains.

As a part of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Mumbai yesterday various French industry groups including their national railways were in town. The SNCF visited Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus as well as the Headquarters of the Western Railways to see railway operations and different technologies being used by the Central and Western Railways.

Sandeep Silas, Divisional Railway Manager, WR said, “Guillaume Pepe, the Chairman and CEO of SNCF visited Mumbai along with his team as a part of their interest in the High Speed Rail Corridor between Ahemdabad and Mumbai. The Division made a presentation on its operations. Another presentation on the suburban Elevated Corridor was also made. The team was on a preliminary study tour of railway operations here.”

Subodh Jain, General Manager, Central Railway, said that the Chairman (SNCF) was amazed at railway operations at CST and also with the upkeep of the station. Pepe was also apprised of the deadlock between the CR and the UNESCO over dilution of the buffer zone which has stalled the Rs.7,000 crore makeover of CST as a world class station. He is learnt to have assured cooperation with the CR on remodeling CST if the heritage related deadlock is solved.

Also, Pepe particularly complimented CR officials for the cleanliness of CST despite millions of passengers frequenting the station. It is also learnt that the French officials marveled at the suburban railways and showed keen interest in further improvement of stations.


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