Vande Bharat Express, the first Indian Trainset for long distance run was indigenously designed and manufactured at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The Trainset was flagged off on February 15 with great fanfare and is successfully running at a maximum speed of 160 kmph between Delhi and Varanasi since then, reducing the travel time considerably between the two cities.
The 16-coach train, also known as Train 18 project, developed at a cost of about Rs 100 crore and with all modern amenities like Wi-Fi, CCTV, GPS-enabled passenger information system, rotational seats and modular bio-vacuum toilets under the supervision of mechanical wing, is now opening doors for imports as per the latest Railways decision.
Railways has claimed that 40 more Vande Bharat trains would be ready in 2022 and in the process of finalising the new bids are facilitating foreign players to join the race. But if one goes by the approved timeline, this seems to be a tall claim which is nearly impossible.
As indicated by the Railway Board, the tender is likely to be floated in October, opened in January 2020 and the contract will be awarded not earlier than April 2020. If everything goes well, then the first prototype will not come before June 2021 as it takes minimum 15 to 18 months for the production and the very first train will be rolled out by October 2021.
Metro or suburban trains consume 30% less energy because of its regenerating braking system. While Metro trains stop at every one to two kilometres, suburban trains brake after every three kilometres.
But in the case of Vande Bharat Express, it stops at two places only – Kanpur and Allahabad – before reaching Varanasi from Delhi. So Vande Bharat’s electric consumption cannot be compared with Metro or suburban service. At best it should be compared with similar Trainsets running in Europe and Japan.