France offers to help India modernise railways including fast trains

MUMBAI, May 13, 2008 (AFP) – France will sign an agreement with India to help modernise its massive railway system with a focus on safety, training and technology including fast trains, the French transport minister said Tuesday. “Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français – the French National Railway Company – and the Indian Railways will co-operate through companies to modernise the railways in India,” Dominique Bussereau, French state transport minister said.

“Our focus will be to increase safety measures, prevent fires, introduction of high-speed trains and personnel training,” the minister told reporters.

France currently holds the record for the world’s fastest commercial passenger train service at 320 kilometres (200 miles) per hour, he said.

The agreements will be signed in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Bussereau arrived in India Monday, on a three day visit to boost partnership in railways, aviation and freight transport systems between the two countries.

French and Indian Railways will tackle issues like overcrowding, railway track repairs, signalling, information technology and training, officials from both services added.

The state-run Indian railways, started by India’s former British