The new set of 16-car, semi-high-speed trains, the Vande Bharat Express, two of which are expected to run on the rails for testing in August, will be manufactured at an estimated cost of Rs 115 crore each, officials said Friday. But the price will drop significantly once the buses are manufactured in bulk, they added. The railways have a goal of producing 75 such trains by August 2023.
While two such trains are already running between Delhi and Katra and Delhi and Varanasi, the next set will have 75 upgraded versions of these trains in terms of safety and passenger facilities, officials said.
“The cost of manufacturing a Vande Bharat train with 16 buses would be around 110 crore to 120 crore Rs. You can say it is Rs 115 crore on average. Our upgrades are only improvements and as we make more trains, decreases our costs. With volume, costs will fall further, “said General Manager, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, AK Agarwal. ICF had rolled out the two previous trains at a cost of Rs 106 crore each.
The biggest safety feature in the new set of Vande Bharat trains will be the use of train collision avoidance system (TCAS) or Kavach to prevent signal pass in case of danger (SPAD) cases, unsafe situations that occur due to overspeed and train collisions in station area as well as in the block section.
The trains will also have a centralized bus monitoring system where all electrical components and climate control will be monitored in real time by a designated person. Compared to previous versions, the new trains have been upgraded with several safety features, including fire detection alarms in the buses, a fire detection system in cabins and toilets, emergency lights, emergency lights – two in the passenger area and one in the doorway. The security features also include four emergency windows per. bus, while previously there were two.
Passengers dealing with emergencies can now have easy access to emergency pushbuttons and emergency talk devices, allowing them to talk to the locomotive pilot. The number of both has increased from two to four. With cattle hit, causing serious damage to the train’s exterior, the new trains will have reinforced fiber-reinforced plastic like those used in aircraft.
The ICF has also taken into account passenger feedback and redesigned the seats by replacing the sliding reclining seats with aircraft-like reclining seats.
“The new trains will give passengers better driving comfort. We have designed a better bogie and the last trains will be 99 percent ‘desi’ with only small components sourced from countries outside India. They want automatic doors, sensor-operated doors for buses, reduced jerks, wider windows, more space for luggage, ”said Agarwal.
ICF plans to manufacture about 10 trains a month, and eventually the F-Kapurthala and Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareilly will also start manufacturing these buses to reach the goal of 400 Water Bharat trains over the next three years.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a goal of 75 such trains by August 2023, the railways faced a major roadblock to reach its goal as the wheels of the trains got stuck in war-torn Ukraine.
Earlier this month, 128 wheels were transported by truck from Ukraine to Romania, from where they were transported to Chennai. From Chennai Airport, the wheels were taken to the factory at Medha Servo Drives Limited in Hyderabad, where the bogie – the wheels and axle – will be collected and sent back to ICF for final assembly.
The trials with the trains, which were to be carried out in May, were pushed back to August due to Ukraine’s roadblock.