My first high-speed train experience was in the mid-1970s … on the big screen. I was still in school when the 1975 thriller The Bullet Train – in which a bomb is planted by a criminal gang and will explode if the train’s speed is reduced – hit Indian cinemas. Audiences (me included) were floored by the speed of Japan’s famed Shinkansen trains.
A nail-biting moment in the film – two high-speed trains running head-on avoid a catastrophic collision by switching tracks at the last moment – remains etched in my memory.
India has yet to see a high-speed train, though it did witness an aviation boom, thanks to the opening-up of the sector in 2002 and the launch of a low-cost airline in September 2003, which revolutionized flying in the country.