NEW DELHI: The railway ministry has floated a tender for procuring a new set of 100 Vande Bharat trains with maximum design speed of 200km per hour as the government is now prioritising introduction of more semi high-speed trains in the next few years.
With this, it has invited bids for a fresh set of 400 such trains in three tranches.
According to the tender document, these 100 trains will have articulated bogie, aluminium body and sleeper facilities. Officials said considering that the life of each such aluminium body coach is 35 years, the maximum design speed has been increased to meet future needs as rail tracks will also be upgraded. The maximum design speed of current Vande Bharat trains – both operational and being manufactured – is 160 kmph.
Articulated technology is capable of negotiating curves on the tracks without losing speed and hence can reduce the total travel time to some extent.
While for railways, the focus on only aluminium bodies seems promising for the future, industry insiders and rail sector experts said there would be few bidders who would opt for aluminium in place of the stainless steel, which is now being used. They claimed that the cost of aluminium body would be significantly higher and getting the material would also take longer.
“We are going for expensive rolling stock with the aim to run trains at 200 kmph when most of our railway tracks are not even ready for trains to operate at 130-140 kmph. In one tender, the railways has said that the manufacturer will have to maintain the rolling stock for 35 years and hence has to create a huge infrastructure. Even by using the stainless steel in manufacturing of coaches we can almost achieve what the aluminium coaches offer. For faster roll out of these trains, the government should give options to the bidders whether they would go for stainless steel or aluminium body,” said Lalit Chandra Trivedi, a former general manager in the Indian Railways.
The railways aims to roll out 75 Vande Bharat trains by August 15 next year and one such train is expected to be rolled out before August 15 this year.
While Vande Bharat trains with seating facilities can replace Shatabdi and intercity express trains, Rajdhani trains can be replaced by Vande Bharat train sets with sleeper facilities.