Indian Railways is to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss railway to learn from some of their best practices and processes, including the hub and spoke model and tunneling technology, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.

In an interview with PTI at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the minister said that many positive things can be taught, as well as some traditional technology, by partnering with Switzerland.

I had a productive discussion with top executives and policymakers from Swiss railroads, and I also saw their control center. They have extensive tunneling expertise, and the world’s longest Gotthard tunnel, measuring 57 kilometers, is already operational,” he said.

Vaishnaw went on to say that Switzerland has an excellent track technology system, particularly in terms of track construction, which is extremely intriguing.

The most essential thing I saw was that their whole network is built on a hub and spoke model. For example, if Zurich is a hub, numerous trains arrive at the station at the same time, allowing customers to easily switch to any other train, and then several trains depart the station at the same time,” he said.

The objective of our system has always been to give end-to-end connection, such as from Bhagalpur to Bengaluru, Kolkata to Chennai, or Delhi. Here in Switzerland, I saw that their network is focused on a hub-and-spoke approach rather than end-to-end planning.”

They have six hubs, and each of them has several connecting spokes. Trains arrive and leave concurrently from all six hubs. Their emphasis is on changeovers,” he said.

There are certainly valuable lessons to be learned, and we are working on a memorandum of understanding with Swiss Railway to strengthen our system even more.

According to the minister, Switzerland enjoys excellent interconnectivity across various kinds of public transportation.

There are very good inter-connections between trains, buses, cablecars, metro, etc. and passengers can use any mode of transport with a common card or ticket,” he said.

Switzerland is noted for its extensive railway network, which has over 5,200 kilometers of tracks and is nearly all electrified, except for a few sections that are utilized for tourism-focused steam locomotives.

Indian Railways is the world’s tenth-largest employer, with about 1.2 million workers. As of 2022, it administers the world’s fourth-biggest national railway system, with a total track length of 128,305 kilometers (79,725 miles). 

The Indian Railways was created on April 16, 1853, and is headquartered in New Delhi. The Railway Ministry is in charge of organizing, financing and controlling the Indian railway system. The government treasury manages finances, and all income is deposited there. 

The Indian Railways operates 13,169 passenger trains every day, serving 7,325 stations across India. The most prevalent kinds of trains are mail or express trains, which have an average speed of 50.6 km/h.