The specifications were prepared after multiple deliberations with industry at various levels for manufacturing the train sets indigenously.
The Railways on Friday awarded a Rs 2,211 crore tender for 44 rakes of Vande Bharat train sets to Medha Servo Drives, a Hyderabad-based indigenous manufacturer of railway products. The contract is for design, development, manufacture, supply, integration, testing and commissioning of IGBT based 3-phase propulsion, control and other equipment for the rakes which will have 16 car each.
The procurement includes 5 years comprehensive annual maintenance contract with the supplier. The specifications were prepared after multiple deliberations with industry at various levels for manufacturing the train sets indigenously. “This project will be completed under the ‘Make in India’ policy with domestic content of 90%,” the Railways said on social media. Vande Bharat Express is IR’s first self-propelled engine-less train that can run at a maximum permissible speed of 160 kmph. At present, Indian Railways operates two world-class Vande Bharat trains — the first between New Delhi and Varanasi and the second between New Delhi and Katra.
The race for the tender saw participation from 3 bidders with Medha Servo Drives emerging as the winner with the lowest offer. In August 2020, the Railways had cancelled the tender for the manufacturing of the train sets after the Chinese joint venture company CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) emerged as the only foreign bidder among six contenders for manufacturing the semi-high speed trains. In September, the tender was floated again. Following the disqualification of the Chinese JV company in December 2020 over non-conformity with the rules of qualification laid down for neighbouring countries, there were only two valid bids — Medha Servo Drives and Bharat Heavy Electricals.
The new train sets will be manufactured at three production units of IR — 24 rakes at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, 10 rakes at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, and 10 rakes at the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli. According to the delivery schedule for supply of the rakes, first 2 prototype rakes will be delivered in 20 months, thereafter on successful commissioning, the firm will be delivering an average of 6 rakes per quarter. The new train sets will provide an actual saving of 20% in journey time and all equipment are suitable for flooding conditions.
The coaches of these trains will be of chair car type for day travel and equipped with many modern features including automatic plug doors with retractable footsteps, side destination boards, automatic intercommunication door, speakers, mobile and laptop charging sockets, CCTVs, emergency talk back units with networking system, diffused lighting for luggage racks, continuous LED lights, GPS antenna and mini pantry with modular equipment.