The Ministry of Railways on Friday said the government is not considering a complete redesign of railway coaches and even acquisition of full train rakes from foreign suppliers. The trains that will be designed will be indigenous.
“There is no plan to start an import of complete train sets from foreign suppliers,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
He said a Transfer of Technology (ToT) contract for the development of capabilities from production to commissioning -- including design, development (prototyping), manufacturing and testing of Aluminium Body passenger coaches of eight variants (five of Broad Gauge loco-hauled coaches and three variants of Standard Gauge Metro coaches) has been given by the Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Uttar Pradesh, to a Korean company.
On the basis of these facilities, coaches shall be manufactured at the MCF and “not through import”, Piyush Goyal said.
Speaking of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, which manufactures the Train 18, (Vande Bharat) self-propulsion train sets, he said that the ICF has begun with the procurement process for only propulsion equipment and control system to manufacture 44 train sets.
In December last year, the Railway Board has given approval to the ICF to manufacture 44 new sets of Train 18 — renamed to as Vande Bharat Express, by 2021-22.
A per the railway ministry officials, the ICF is directed to first procure propulsion system for the train and also emphasise on the “Make In India” initiative of the government while manufacturing the train.
A railway ministry official pointed out that 44 trains were being manufactured after the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) approved a revised design to ensure that the new trains are lighter in weight, and consume less power.
The older design of Train 18 had become a point of discussion in the case of the first two train sets operating between Delhi and Varanasi and Delhi and Katra.
The shiny blue-nosed train comes with the best facilities, including high-speed onboard WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature.
The 16-coach train has two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each. The executive class coaches have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.