Officials sceptical of making 45 Vande Bharat rakes in 2 years

The Railway Ministry clearing the decks for the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here to continue making Vande Bharat Express trains is seen as a welcome move though senior officials are sceptical of rolling out 45 rakes, 720 coaches, by 2021-22.

Even if tenders are floated immediately as per the revised specifications approved by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), it would take at least two years to roll out the first prototype for operation after the mandatory oscillation tests and safety approvals.

While it would take three months to open tenders for scrutiny, another two months would be needed to finalise and award work, a senior railway official told The Hindu on Sunday.

Prototype electrics

Considering that the manufacturing process is monitored on a day-to-day basis, the prototype electrics would be ready only by November 2021 and take at least three months for the mandatory inspection and type test process.

The complete manufacture of the train set along with oscillation assessment and certification for operation by the Commissioner of Railway Safety would be possible only by November 2022 and the first prototype can be put into service a month later.

“It’s a welcome announcement to restore the project to ICF... but making 45 rakes would not be possible in the next two years since the design specifications have been changed. In the event of Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, and Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli, joining the mission, then it would be possible to bring out a few rakes in two to three years,” another official, who also preferred not to be quoted, said.

‘Morale booster’

The decision to continue manufacture of Vande Bharat Express rakes at ICF was a boost to the morale of the employees, particularly the team that was part of Team18 project, All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) working president N. Kanniah said on Sunday.

Thanking Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for restoring the project to ICF, he urged the Railway Board “to ensure that the 45 rakes are not only built in accordance with the Make in India initiative but manufactured indigenously by ICF in the same way the first two Train18 rakes were made.”

Local talent

He said the objective and essence of ‘Make in India’ campaign was to identify and promote local talent which would generate local employment and boost economy. “I appeal to the Railway Minister to make sure that the design specification or other tender conditions are not tweaked to favour any global player in this project,” Mr. Kanniah said.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 3:05:34 AM |

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