NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): In a major development for India’s semi high-speed rail connectivity, Indian Railways is planning to roll out at least 10 new Vande Bharat Trains, also known as Train-18, connecting 40 cities by August 2022 as India celebrates its 75th Independence day.
India’s new Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav recently reviewed the project and directed that the rollout plan be advanced to connect at least 40 cities with the Vande Bharat Trains by August 2022 to show a visible upgrade in the country’s rail services, as reported by The Indian Express.
For achieving the same, Hyderabad-based engineering firm, Medha Servo Drives Ltd Medha has been told to advance its production plan so that at least two prototypes can be rolled out by March next year following all trials. Medha Servo had won the contract worth INR 2,211 Crores to supply the electrical systems for 44 Vande Bharat Trains in January this year.
There is a contract condition that along with all the trials and testing that are needed to give approval to a Vande Bharat Train, the prototype train should also complete 1 lakh Kms of commercial run with passengers before the following lot can be placed for production. As a result of this condition, the Vande Bharat Trains could take months to hit the tracks commercially. Without this impetus, the first set of trains was to roll out in 2 years i.e. by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
A meeting was also conducted by the Railway Board headed by Chairman Suneet Sharma on Saturday to work out the nuts and bolts of the new plan on a war footing. The meeting was attended by Board members concerned, General Managers of production units, the Research Design and Standards Organisation and other engineers.
As per officials estimates, if all three production units are put to use, Indian Railways can manufacture around six to seven Vande Bharat train sets every month. The idea of the new plan is to get maximum train sets rolled out by 2024 by utilising Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli and Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala.
Vande Bharat Train is India’s first semi-high speed train with the potential to completely change the travel experience for the Indian masses. It is a self-propelled train that runs on distributed power mechanism and does not require an engine to haul them. As a result, the Vande Bharat Train has faster acceleration and deceleration, helping it to maintain a higher average speed despite stoppages. This ensures that the Vande Bharat takes less time in completing its runs than ordinary loco-hauled trains and is even faster than the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi Trains, wherein time and speed are lost when a train has to stop and gather speed again.
Vande Bharat Trains has a modern features like automatic doors, chair car type sitting, side destination boards, automatic intercommunication door, speakers, mobile and laptop charging sockets, CCTVs, emergency talk back units with networking system, diffused lighting for luggage racks, continuous LED lights, GPS antenna and many more other features.
The eventual plan is to roll out 100 Vande Bharat Trains which will criss-cross most of the Indian landscape, providing a whole new modern travel experience with enhanced facilities to the Indian masses. It would cost around INR 11,000 Crores to manufacture 100 such trains, with each individual train of 16 coaches to cost around INR 110 Crores.