Indian Railways’ big plans for future: Upgraded Vande Bharat trains, new station redevelopment model and more

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August 02, 2021 11:23 AM

India is the world's ninth country to manufacture 180 km per hour trainsets and the Vande Bharat trains, at current prices, are comparatively cheaper than their global counterparts.

Vande Bharat, station redevelopmentThe national transporter has overhauled the Vande Bharat project, wherein the upcoming trainsets will have technical specifications that are an upgrade on the current Vande Bharat set, in terms of passenger comfort as well as ride quality.

Under the leadership of new Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Indian Railways eyes to roll out new ‘Make in India’ Vande Bharat trains, introduce a new model for redevelopment of railway stations with private players, plans economy of scale in freight business as well as foray into global market with indigenous technology. According to officials quoted in an IE report, under Vaishnaw, the national transporter has overhauled the Vande Bharat project, wherein the upcoming trainsets will have technical specifications that are an upgrade on the current Vande Bharat set, in terms of passenger comfort as well as ride quality. Also, there are plans to export globally. India is the world’s ninth country to manufacture 180 km per hour trainsets and the Vande Bharat trains, at current prices, are comparatively cheaper than their global counterparts.

Under the new Railway Minister, the station redevelopment project is being recast in partnership with private players. According to the sources quoted in the report, the Model Concession Agreement for it might be done again to make them more attractive for Indian Railways as well as private players. To run private passenger trains, only two players have come forward in the first-ever tender, and it has been decided to overhaul the model completely for better success. Internally, it is being said that Indian Railways is treating the tender result for the 12 clusters as a “good beginning”.

For freight business, Indian Railways is now exploring a model in order to bring down the costs of logistics, as well as play with its own freight tariffs to make them more competitive. A senior official has said by the year 2024, Indian Railways aims to overshoot the target and go for maybe 3,000 MT of goods carried in a year, which is approximately three times the volume carried now.

Besides, the national transporter also plans to develop its own Train Collision Avoidance System and to start with, roll it out through Indian manufacturing partners across 10,000 kilometres. The technology renamed “Kavach” will be an effective alternative for conventional in-cab signalling as well as enhance the throughput of the network, according to officials. The Railway Minister has also instructed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor project’s speedy execution, especially in the portion in Gujarat where the process of land acquisition is more or less complete.

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