Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Railways to soon launch Vande Bharat sleeper coaches, metro trains

India’s semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains are set to feature sleeper coaches for long-haul passengers, Milind Deouskar, secretary, Railway Board, said at the International Rail Conference, highlighting the theme, ‘Innovation and Technology: Changing the Future of Railway’, organized by CII.

“Vande Bharat as an innovation has been deeply appreciated by our customers and with that experience, their aspirations have grown. Keeping that in view we are planning Vande Bharat sleepers, Vande Bharat metro trains, all of this to meet the through-put, speed, and convenience related expectations. Indian Railways is on a great journey of expansion,” Deouskar said.

Shantanu Roy, chairman and managing director at BEML, an partner in the Vande Bharat sleeper train initiative, revealed plans to unveil a prototype of the Vande Bharat sleeper train within the fiscal year. Commenting on the impact of Vande Bharat, Roy said, “Vande Bharat has been the game-changer for Indian commuter Rail, and all of it started with Train 18.”

BEML will develop the sleeper Vande Bharat trains in partnership with Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, and Railway Board.

Earlier this month, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw showcased the Vande Bharat sleeper’s concept, scheduled for a 2024 launch. Designed for speeds of up to 160 km/hour, each train will comprise 16 bogies, accommodating approximately 887 passengers.

Roy highlighted the potential rail and metro market size, emphasizing opportunities surpassing ₹2 trillion over the next seven years, including Vande Bharat projects and various metro tenders.

Indian Railways has issued a production plan of 102 Vande Bharat rakes, with 75 as chair car versions and the rest as sleepers. Additionally, 400 sleeper version Vande Bharat trains of diverse technologies have also been planned, with tenders already in place. The 2023-24 Budget has also proposed an additional 8,000 Vande Bharat coaches.

Reflecting on India’s manufacturing potential in the railway sector, Jonathan Paddison, a board member of Knorr-Bremse Asia Pacific, mentioned their substantial investment in India over the past 35 years. He emphasized their intent to not only produce but also design and innovate in India, targeting global markets.

Dipankar Ghosh, chairman, CII Railway Transport and Equipment Division, applauded Indian Railways’ initiatives like 100% electrification and achieving carbon neurtrality by 2030. He emphasized the transformative role of domestic manufacturing in tandem with the government’s execution focus for the sector.

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