Indian Railways’ export arm, RITES (formerly known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service Ltd), has secured rolling stock export orders to the tune of ₹2,100 crore. While the ₹1,400 crore order to Sri Lanka has been completed, 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.

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According to Rahul Mithal, Chairman and Managing Director, RITES Ltd, the order to Sri Lanka consisted of 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.

RITES will continue to explore overseas markets for export of rolling stock: RITES chairman Rahul Mithal
Rahul Mithal, Chairman and Managing Director, RITES Ltd talks about the company’s order book in FY23.Video Credit: Story: Abhishek Law; Video: Kamal Narang
‘Unique order’

The orders for Mozambique were “unique”, he explained, as the Railways and RITES had to work on manufacturing the “special cape gauge enabling coaches and locomotives”.

A cape gauge is different from the normal broad gauge. The former has a track gauge measured at 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 inches); as against the popular track gauge of 1677 mm, that is used in India. The cape gauges were first constructed as horse-drawn wagon-ways and were used for passenger intercity services in Norway. Cape gauges were adopted as the standard gauges for the Cape Government Railways (and is common in African nations).

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While locomotives (for both Mozambique and Sri Lanka) were made at the Banaras Locomotive Works, coaches are being made at Rai Bareily (Modern Coach Factory) for Mozambique and Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai for orders to Sri Lanka. “The Sri Lankan orders have been delivereddeliveries for some ₹300-odd crore worth of orders are underway for Mozambique,” Mithal told businessline.

Tapping export markets

According to him, RITES will continue to explore overseas markets for export of rolling stock. African nations and some of the South East Asian markets are being tapped. “We see strong demand in Africa and Bangladesh, apart from other South East Asia nations. We are tapping these markets for rolling stock orders,” Mithal said.

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While the company is yet to receive orders for any Vande Bharat trains, there are some queries about the technology that have come in.

According to a senior Railway official, a roadmap for the export of Vande Bharat Expresses is being worked out. Exports should start by FY26, those in the know said.