In line with railway minister Suresh Prabu’s announcement in this year’s railway budget on acquiring electrical multiple units (EMU)-based train sets for intercity journeys, the Indian Railways has floated global tenders worth Rs 2,500 crore, involving the procurement-cum-maintenance of 15 EMU sets.
The selected bidder would require to manufacture and supply about 15 EMU train sets comprising 315 rail cars, sources said, adding 23 companies including Hitachi India, Toshiba, BHEL, Siemens, Medha Servo Drives and Alstom participated in the pre-application conference held by the railway ministry on Wednesday.
EMU train sets will operate at speeds ranging from 130-160 km per hour.The railways proposes to introduce in the near future these modern EMU train sets for running premium the Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, without any additional expenditure on existing track and signalling infrastructure.
“The propulsion equipment is mounted on the coaches, hence locomotives and power cars in conventional locomotive-hauled trains get replaced by additional passenger coaches in train sets, thereby increasing the passenger-carrying capacity by 25-30% for the same length of a train,” a source in the ministry of railways told FE. “After the introduction of these train sets, the journey time between Delhi and Howrah will be reduced by two hours.” he added.
The selected bidder is allowed to procure two prototype train sets and the subsequent train sets would have to be manufactured in India, in accordance with the PM’s ‘Make In India’ plan. The two types of EMU train sets which are to be procured should comprise 20 rail cars with sleeper arrangement and the other should have 16 rail cars with sitting arrangement. The ministry has proposed to entrust the maintenance obligation to the selected company for a period of seven years.
“We already have EMUs but this is going to be a new technology. Currently, Indian Railways does not have the skills to maintain these EMU train sets, that is why for the first time, we are giving the job of maintaining these sets to a private entity,” said the source.
The ministry has also decided to designate staff of the Indian Railways in the project to ensure the transfer of skills and to enable them to learn the new system of maintenance, which would help them to maintain the new assets after seven years, for its life of 35 years. The tender will be open for bidding on 12 August.
The introduction of EMU train sets will enable quicker acceleration and deceleration, which will help in cutting travelling time drastically.