The Indian Railways is hoping to ramp up production of Vande Bharat trains by the end of 2022 as part of the government’s ambitious plans to expand and accelerate connectivity across the country.
It has also recently issued fresh tenders for manufacturing cum maintenance of 200 fourth-generation energy efficient Vande Bharat train sets through two separate tenders for 100 trains each. The delivery period is 84 months. The deadline for submission of bids is November 2022.
“Train shall be designed to operate at a maximum service speed of 200 kilometre per hour and to successfully complete assessment testing at 200 kmph+ 10 per cent test speed, said the tender document.
Bidders would have to up-grade existing infrastructure and facilities and develop additional infrastructure at nominated manufacturing unit of Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and Rail Coach Naveenikaran Karkhana (RCNK), Sonipat.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Railways had also floated a tender for design and manufacture of 200 of the Vande Bharat train sets of sleeper version at the Marathwada Rail Coach Factory, Latur and ICF, Chennai.
This was in line with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement in the Union Budget 2022-23 that 400 new-generation Vande Bharat Trains with better energy efficiency and passenger riding experience will be developed and manufactured over the next three years.
Scale up existing production
The Ministry of Railways is hopeful of meeting the target of rolling out 75 Vande Bharat trains in 75 weeks, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2021.
According to government sources, the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai is scaling up its capacity and could manufacture as many as seven to eight Vande Bharat trains every month by this December. The eventual target is to escalate production further to take it up to 10 such trains every month, the source said. At present, the facility manufactures four to six rakes in a month.
Separately, the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala as well as the Modern Rail Coach Factory at Rae Bareilly too are working on starting production of these new variant train sets, the source said.
Vande Bharat Express is the country’s first indigenous semi high speed train. Also called Train 18, the trains have 16 advanced air conditioned coaches and can go to speeds upto 160 km hour and have been tested at even 180 km per hour.
The first Vande Bharat Express train was flagged off on February 15, 2019 on the New Delhi Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route. The second train runs on the Delhi-Katra route.