Indian Railways pitches MCF Raebareli as an example of ‘Make in India’! In what appears to be a strong rebuttal to Opposition on remarks regarding “failure of Make in India and Train 18”, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has come out with some data points about MCF, Raebareli. MCF or Modern Coach Factory was set up in Raebareli and inaugurated in 2012. According to the latest data released by Indian Railways, MCF Raebareli rolled out its first coach in August 2014. It is only in July 2014 that the Raebareli coach factory was declared a production unit of Indian Railways and since then has doubled production almost every year, the national transporter says.
From 140 coaches in 2014-2015 to 285 in 2015-2016, 576 in 2016-2017 to 711 in 2017-2018. In the ongoing financial year, MCF plans to produce around 1,422 railway coaches, out of which 1,220 have already been made. In December 2018, PM Narendra Modi flagged off the 900th coach manufactured at the factory. To augment the production capacity of MCF from 1,000 to 3,000 per year by 2020-2021, the Budget 2018-2019 has sanctioned Rs 480 crore. Here is how Indian Railways is laying out the reoadmap for MCF, Raebareli.
1. Vande Bharat Express: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that Indian Railways plans to manufacture around 100 Train 18-type sets in the coming years. For this purpose, the production of these train sets will be expanded to coach factories other than ICF, Chennai as well. MCF, Raebareli will also be tasked with manufacturing Vande Bharat Express coaches soon.
2. SMART Coach: Indian Railways’ first “SMART Coach” that makes use of Artificial Intelligence-enabled software was rolled out last year from MCF, Raebareli. The SMART coach has intelligent sensor-based systems that aim at providing data for predictive maintenance. The SMART coach taps into several indicators of a train’s health such as; security, surveillance and coach diagnosis.
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3. Indian Railways first aluminium coaches: MCF Raebareli has floated a Rs 150 crore global tender for making India’s first aluminium shell coaches for the Indian Railways network. Financial Express Online had earlier reported that these coached may be capable of attaining speeds of 250 kmph! According to Rajesh Agrawal, Member Rolling Stock at Railway Board, aluminium coaches are better than the stainless steel LHB ones currently in use and over the long-term will help save cost. The ToT component in the tender can help the coach factory manufacture aluminium coaches not just for Indian Railways, but also for metro networks and upcoming rapid rail corridors.
4. Bullet train coaches: As GM of MCF, Raebareli, Rajesh Agrawal (now Member Rolling Stock) made a presentation to the Railway Ministry, proposing to manufacture coaches for the upcoming Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project at the factory. The presentation pointed out that MCF has robotic production lines, which would be a great enabler in making bullet train coaches. According to Indian Railways, if all requirements are met, then this project could be a reality soon.
5. Solar energy: Indian Railways states that MCF, Raebareli will be the first railway factory to meet “Zero-Energy Mega Factory” standards by the year 2020-21. The solar energy capacity will be raised from 3 MW to 10 MW. This, says Indian Railways, will help achieve “Energy Neutral” standards for not only the factory unit, but also the township.