According to the official, discussions have not yet concretised into orders.
The priority remains catering to the domestic market before design modifications are made targeting international markets. Availability of manufacturing facility is also a factor being considered.
“So right now Chile has expressed some interest in the Vande Bharat designs. And these have been very general-level queries. There is still some time to go before they materialise into an actual order,” the official told businessline.
“It is good to see international interest in these indigenous design now,” the official added.
India has been trying to showcase the flagship Vande Bharat locomotives as a key export offering. But orders are yet to be placed. LatAm and African nations have been a focused market, specifically where electric locomotives are in demand.
While the current Vande Bharat trains are fit for broad gauge, Railways may need to customise the trains to run on standard gauges used by many countries across the world.
The manufacturing cost of a 16-coach Vande Bharat train is around ₹130 crore.
Exports by RITES
The Indian Railways’ export arm, RITES, had previously secured rolling stock orders (for exports) to the tune of ₹2,100 crore. While orders to Sri Lanka are valued at ₹1,400 crore, another ₹700 crore order book — that includes customised cape-gauge diesel locomotives — to Mozambique is currently underway.
In rail parlance, rolling stock refers to any vehicle that moves along a railway track and includes orders placed in mainline and high-speed passenger trains, plus rail freight locomotives and heavy-haul wagons.
The order to Sri Lanka consisted of a supply of eight sets of DMUs (diesel multiple units), 10 broad gauge locomotives, and 160 coaches. The orders to Mozambique include six cape gauge electric locomotives and 100 cape gauge passenger coaches, including 30 DEMUs (diesel electric multiple units) coaches.
Recently, it was declared L1 for coach order from Bangladesh Railways – valued at close to ₹1,000 crore.
Exporter of Forged Wheels
According to the official, India is also looking to be an exporter of forged wheels over the next three to five years.
The consortium of Ramkrishna Forgings and Titagarh Wagons to set up a manufacturing unit with an annual capacity of producing 228,000 wheels is on course and reviews by the Ministry show that construction should be underway soon.
“The Ministry has given an assured offtake of 80,000 wheels a year, (the annual requirement of the Railways) whereas the remaining (close to 140,000) would be pushed for exports. The construction plans at the facility are on track with work beginning in the next six months,” the official said.
India currently imports various types of forged wheels from the UK, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine. The import bill is around ₹520 crore.