Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, one of the major rail coach production centres, has taken up the next ‘prestigious’ project of designing and developing a sleeper version of the Vande Bharat Express.

The new version of Vande Bharat Express will be rolled out soon, said BG Mallya, General Manager, ICF, in his speech at the 74th Republic Day celebrations held in the factory.

This follows the success of the chair car version of Vande Bharat Express manufactured at the ICF, he said.

The time frame on the production of the sleeper Vande Bharat is yet to be finalised. The changes between them could only be cosmetic with few safety features such as collision avoidance system and emergency window.

At the beginning of the current production year, every month, ICF turned out one rake of Vande Bharat Express. This is now two rakes, and from April it may be three rakes per month. So far eight rakes have been turned out, of which, two were in 2019. Now, the 9th rake is ready to roll out, said sources.

The ICF has produced a record number of air-conditioned (AC) coaches in the current financial year. It has rolled out over 2,000 coaches so far, including seven rakes of Vande Bharat Express, eight rakes of mainline EMU, two rakes of AC EMU, and three rakes of Special Purpose Accident Relief Trains.

ICF has produced more than 1,110 AC LHB coaches in the current fiscal so far, highest for ICF in a production year.

He said that ICF has been entrusted with the responsibility of turning out new and special types of coaches within a short timeframe, such as Vistodome Restaurant Car, Gatishakti Freight Train, Office on self-propelled Heritage train and MahaMetro coaches.

“This showed the trust and faith Railway Board had posed on design, development and production capacity of ICF,” he added.