Train 18 project stuck as component supplier backs out

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Train 18
Train 18

CHENNAI (Metro Rail News): Manufacturing of 3rd Rake of Train-18 at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will be delayed due to a crucial component supplier has backed out.

According to the sources, The supplier of three-phase ‘insulated gate bipolar transistors’ (IGBT) propulsion system has declined to accept the letter of authorization (LOA) issued by ICF after realizing that the factory would not give them the volumes the company expected.

The company had supplied the (IGBT) propulsion system for the first two rakes of Train-18. This is one of the most important parts of the self-propelled vehicle.

“With this bottleneck, identifying another contractor to supply the electrical system would take several months, delaying the next rakes of T-18,” Said top officials.

The first rake of Train-18 has been in service as the New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, priding itself as the first big success of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The second rake has been sent from Chennai and it is likely to be used as the standby for Vande Bharat Express.

The vigilance team of Railway Board had initiated an inquiry into some contracts pertaining to the electrical systems of Train-18. This will cause some uncertainty over the rollout of the third rake of Train 18.

Railway Board had given ICF a target of 40 rakes over three years- a target that now appears doubtful. the propulsion system contractor had discussions with the tender committee of ICF in April last week and submitted an offer for the propulsion system for around 10.1 crores per unit as per highly-placed government sources.

The company agreed to bring down the price to 9.9 crores per unit, expecting that it would get 80% of the 40 rakes that the ICF plans to manufacture.

“The company expected LOA for 32 rakes, but the letter mentioned only two rakes – third and fourth,” said an official. Around 10 days ago, the contractor informed ICF that they would not be able to supply the propulsion system at the revised rate as the bid was made expecting 80%, the official said.

Railway Board officials called ICF officials for a meeting in Delhi to thrash out the issue. Last week, the contractor was called to renegotiate the deal, but the talks have not been successful, sources said.

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