Railways Minister Piyush Goyal is looking to give Indian Railways a world-class multi-crore 'Make in India' push! And, this world-class push involves manufacturing state-of-the-art train sets and coaches with a focus on passenger safety and comfort.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal is looking to give Indian Railways a world-class multi-crore ‘Make in India’ push! And, this world-class push involves manufacturing state-of-the-art train sets and coaches with a focus on passenger safety and comfort. Earlier this week Goyal met top executives from foreign OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and discussed plans to ‘Make in India’ train sets and coaches with the latest technology and superior safety standards. “Passenger Safety is our top priority. Held a meeting with world-class coach manufacturers in New Delhi, and discussed ways to make Indian Railways safer and more comfortable for passengers,” Goyal had tweeted. FinancialExpress.com learns that top honchos from Alstom, Siemens, Talgo, Bombardier, Stadler, Hitachi and Titagarh-Firema (Firema is an Italian firm) attended the meeting with the Railways Minister and gave presentations on their product offerings.
According to FE Online’s sources, a proposal to manufacture 200 train sets – that means around 40,000 coaches under Make in India – was discussed. Yet another proposal revolves around making 5,000 coaches per year and a third is to make metro coaches in India for networks in all cities. If all these see the light of the day, this would mean three multi-crore projects under ‘Make in India’. An industry executive who attended the meeting but did not wish to be quoted said that the meeting with Goyal was a preliminary one where Indian Railways put forth its requirement of manufacturing affordable coaches and train sets while not compromising on passenger safety and comfort and bring next-generation technology to the country’s rail network.
Subrat Nath, Managing Director at Talgo India who attended the meeting said his firm is optimistic that several opportunities for the industry will emerge in the coming months. “The Minister had a frank discussion with all industry players and invited them to manufacture world-class coaches in India. His main focus was on safety. Make in India at affordable rates was the thrust of the conversation,” Subrat Nath tells FE Online. According to Nath, Piyush Goyal wants the firms to come forward with proposals to manufacture train sets, coaches and metro coaches in India. “Extensive discussions with railway officials will be held on that in the coming months and tenders for various projects will then be floated,” he says.
Shedding more light on Indian Railways plans, Sudhir Rao, India MD at Bombardier Transportation tells FE Online, “Mr Goyal took inputs from the rail suppliers on the various kinds of train sets and coaches which are available globally and can be manufactured in India at competitive rates. The idea is to provide a world-class experience to passengers who undertake a train journey for a duration as short as 4 hours, to those who travel 2000 kilometres as well.” Rao was part of the meeting and said that it was an interactive session. “Indian Railways is looking to modernize coach manufacturing in India and identify the best technology suited to India’s ecosystem. Indian Railways is a demanding customer, but the Railway Minister was very open to the industry’s inputs and feedback. That’s a big takeaway from the meeting for us,” he says.
“The meeting sets the tone for further dialogue with the Railway Ministry for manufacturing world-class coaches under the ‘Make in India’ programme. Mr Goyal stressed that India wants to bring world-class technology coaches to passengers at the earliest and is looking at fast-track implementation of projects. He mentioned that the biggest focus area for Indian Railways is safety the railway network as a whole including coaches. The ‘ride comfort’ of the coaches is of paramount importance since the Minister wants passengers to have a smooth and comfortable train journey,” Rao adds.
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Meanwhile, Indian Railways’ ICF is already manufacturing self-propelled semi-high speed train sets (Train 18) that will eventually replace Shatabdi Express trains and can travel at speeds up to 160 kmph. The first such train set will roll out by June this year. Yet another project in works is Train 20 which involves making world-class semi-high speed train sets for longer distances. ICF will manufacture these in collaboration with a foreign OEM. With multiple projects on the horizon for modern coaches and train sets, passengers can definitely look forward to more comfortable and safer journeys in ‘Make in India’ trains.