Vande Bharat trains to be made at all 3 coach units: Chairman (Ld)

Updated July 28, 2020

social social social social Vande Bharat trains to be made at all 3 coach units: Chairman (Ld)
New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Days after internal communication from the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that it would complete the manufacturing of 44 Vande Bharat trains by 2027, Chairman Railway Board V.K. Yadav, here on Tuesday, said the new train sets would be manufactured at all three units -- ICF, MCF and RCF -- and in the next two-three years would start rolling out.

His remarks came hours after IANS reported that an internal assessment by the ICF said manufacturing of the Vande Bharat rakes, comprising 16 coaches each, could be completed in six and half years or not before December 2027.

The ICF Chief Planning Engineer in his July 14 letter to the Director Mechanical Engineering (Production Unit) said the prototype of the train sets would take at least 28 months to manufacture from the date of finalisation of the tender for the propulsion system.

The ICF official also said it would take six more months to test the prototype. Only after then the commercial production could be started. However, the ICF would be able to deliver one rake every month. To manufacture 44 rakes, the ICF would take three and half years, taking the estimated rollout date of all these train sets to December 2027, it said.

Responding to IANS queries, the Chairman said, "These are some of the internal communication that don't give a clear picture. I just want to mention that all our production units whether it's ICF, MCF (Modern Coach Factory) or RCF (Rail Coach Factory) their efficiencies in the last two-three years have improved tremendously."

Yadav said the internal communication mentioned the "normal time-table", which the ICF withdrew itself, and that's the reason we asked them for a new time-table.

"Indian Railways took the decision three-four months back to manufacture Vande Bharat trains at all the three manufacturing units. If you divide these 44 trains in three manufacturing units, the timeline would come down almost by one third," the Chairman said.

Yadav said the board had reviewed the timeframe and was trying to accelerate the development of prototype, testing by RDSO and allocating rakes to the three production units and making a coordinated timeframe to roll out the Vande Bharat trains in two-three years. "After two years, trains will start coming on the tracks. Every month, three-four Vande Bharat trains will be on tracks," he said.

He said after the finalisation of tender the railways would be working on a definite time schedule of manufacturing the Train 18. The ICF has invited bids for procurement of electric traction kits for the Train 18, the country's first self-propelled train without locomotives.

Train 18, manufactured by the ICF is owned by the Indian Railways, has over 80 per cent indigenous materials and was rolled out in October 2018 amid much fanfare. The train was later re-christened as Vande Bharat Express and was introduced between New Delhi and Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency, in February 2019. In October 2019, the second Vande Bharat Express was introduced between New Delhi and Katra.

In November 2019, the Railway Board gave its go-ahead to the ICF to resume production of the semi high-speed trains. Subsequently, the ICF called for bids for procuring electric traction kits for 44 train sets.

The Railway Board Chairman at a press conference earlier this month had said six companies participated in the tender process.

The railways in December 2019 had planned to complete production of 44 more new rakes on the 75th Independence Day. All the coaches have a stainless steel car body, equipped with automatic doors and sliding footsteps, onboard computers for train control and remote monitoring.

The coaches also have a GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, on-board hotspot WiFi and comfortable seating arrangements.

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