Nearly 75 Vande Bharat (VB) express trains will be manufactured and deployed throughout the country before August 15, 2023, said Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology.

In four years, 475 VB trains will be manufactured and they will cover the entire country, he told newspersons after inspecting the interiors of the newly rolled out VB rake manufactured by the Integral Coach Factor (ICF), Chennai,

The first VB Express train was flagged off on February 15, 2019 on the New Delhi Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route. The ICF, a production unit of the Indian Railways, has been instrumental in designing and manufacturing in-house the computer modelled trains.

On Friday, the newly designed VB Vande rake left ICF’s furnishing division to undergo 50,000 km of trials before induction in the Indian Railways’ network. The country’s first energy-efficient indigenous semi-high speed train has better passenger amenities and safety features.

Among the differences between the first VBE rake and the current rake are change of formation with individual units with non-driving trailer coach in the middle, like an EMU for better acceleration/ deceleration; the time taken to reach 160 km is 140 seconds as against 145 seconds earlier, and Kavach (train collision avoidance system) introduced in the latest VB trains.

The newly designed Vande Bharat train at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. Photo: TE RAJA SIMHAN

The newly designed Vande Bharat train at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. Photo: TE RAJA SIMHAN | Photo Credit: TE RAJA SIMHAN

The minister praised ICF for rolling out the latest rake in record time. “The country is proud of ICF, Chennai, and all of you for the excellent work you have done. This train shows how good the workmanship of ICF Chennai is,” he said, while addressing newspersons and hundreds of ICF staff at ICF.

The minister was at ICF in May to witness the manufacture of VB train coaches.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced from Red Fort that in the 75th year of India’s Independence Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, 75 new VB trains would be manufactured that would connect the entire country. “This is the realisation of the Prime Minister’s dream,” he added.

A special feature is that the bogie has an air spring to improve the ride quality. The doors will open and close automatically, and it will have features available in world-class trains, he said.

The train will be tested at 180 kmph and the tests will be completed in two months, he said.