Tuesday, February 09, 2010

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Sky Bus, not Metro, tailor-made for Indian cities: Inventor
9 Feb 2010, 1319 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: The Sky Bus is tailor-made for congested Indian cities and is a safer and better option than Metro Rail, according to B Rajaram,
inventor of the Sky Bus and former managing director of Konkan Railway.

Significantly, Rajaram, who developed the Sky Bus — a twin-coach module that combines the strength of a steel coach with the flexibility of a bus — said he did it "at a tiny fraction of what it would have cost the government to develop it, which is anywhere between Rs 500 crore and Rs 800 crore".

The biggest advantage of a patented technology like the Sky Bus is that it remains the most cost-effective alternative at Rs 60-75 crore per route km as compared to Rs 215 crore for the Metro and Rs 400 crore for the underground Metro, at current costs, according to available data.

The Sky Bus can potentially carry six million passengers daily, or 80,000 hourly, in any direction.

"The Sky Bus pre-fabricated structure, unlike Metro Rail, which requires heavy infrastructure and huge capital, can be superimposed on existing roads, without altering their set-up or dislocating traffic, anchored by pillars raised on dividers," Rajaram told IANS in an interview.

It also frees authorities of the necessity of land acquisition, excavations and construction that clog and choke city arteries. What's more, said Rajaram, the project barely takes 24 months to commission against the five to seven years required by Metro systems.

"Integrating 15 rail technologies, Sky Bus turns the conventional approach on its head by reversing the position of the carriage and the wheels. The upside down configuration actually leverages gravity to bind the carriage wheels and the tracks inseparably in an enclosed concrete box, eliminating the possibility of either derailment or capsizing," he said.

"The system has already been granted worldwide patents and approved for mass implementation by German Tuv Rheinland, internationally renowned for technical-viability testing for aviation and transportation projects like magnetic levitated railways."

Handling passenger volumes is only one aspect of the Sky Bus. Another variant, the Sky Con, can be integrated with ports, railways and roadways, to accelerate loading and unloading of containers on ships 10 times faster than existing systems worldwide, he added.

A technical panel constituted by the central government and headed by Indiresen, former director of IIT, Madras, had concluded that the technology was "not tested" — which has become a major hurdle in its implementation.

Ironically, Indiresen also observed: "If very strict standards that some want to apply in this case (Sky Bus) had been applied in the case of Stephenson's Rocket Engine, the world would never have seen railways at all. We cannot live on borrowed technology for ever and should learn to develop our own inventions and, for that reason, learn to place confidence in Indian technology."

"Why single out the Sky Bus as 'untested'," asked Rajaram, "when a 'tested technology' like Metro Rail has been involved in a spate of accidents, injuring more than 200 people. Derailments and collisions over the past decade have also claimed 1,300 lives. Does it follow that train travel be outlawed as unsafe though the technology is proven?

"Similarly, were 'high-tech' Germany coaches disowned after uncoupling four or five times at low speeds within 20 days of their being introduced on the Lucknow-New Delhi Shatabdi Express in the late 1990s?" Rajaram asked.

Another panel headed by former president APJ. Abdul Kalam — as then prime minister's principal scientific advisor — had certified the technology as being safer than railways.

Sky Bus can be designated under the Tramway Act instead of the Indian Railway Act, since it moves along existing roads. Sky Bus is also included in the draft Metro Rail Act by the urban development ministry.

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Blogger Jos said...

Please read about my suggestions for a "Sky Track Integrated Metro System" based on Mr.Rajaram's inventions

4:57 AM  
Blogger Peace said...

this project started way back in 2005, its 2010 now n i dont see it becoming a reality :(
but its an awesome idea tho!!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Ariel said...

As usual, we Indians have demonstrated how much liberated we are in terms of progressive thinking.

The safety concerns expressed is nothing but a hogwash and used to undermine the projects. There is not enough money in ur projects for the big babu's to fatten their Swiss bank accounts with. U will never get it implemented in India till u get a fat American Corporation behind u with an inflated bugdet to the tune of 1000's of crores to get it approved in our homeland

4:03 AM  
Blogger RVS said...

Sir, now that the corrupt Govt in Goa has gone, why not try again to introduce Skybus. I am sure the trial run was sabotaged by vested interests in Delhi. Please do not loose heart

6:00 PM  

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