These trainsets are going to be made of light-weight aluminium, as opposed to steel. Being made of aluminium, each trainset is around 50 tonnes lighter in weight, consuming much less energy than their counterparts made of steel
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to introduce 400 new Vande Bharat trains in the next three years.
The announcement came as part of the Union Budget, which she presented in the Parliament on Tuesday. She added 100 PM Gati Shakti terminals would also be set up in the next three years.
“One product one railway station will be popularised, 400 new Vande Bharat trains to be introduced,” Sitharaman said in her Budget 2022-23 speech.
400 new generation Vande Bharat trains with better energy efficiency & passenger riding experience will be manufactured during the next 3 years. 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo terminals to be developed during next 3 years FM @nsitharaman #Budget2022#AatmaNirbharBharatKaBudget pic.twitter.com/teGa4KduZf
— PIB India (@PIB_India) February 1, 2022
Vande Bharat Trains
The Vande Bharat Express, also known as Train 18, is an Indian semi-high-speed, intercity, EMU (electric multiple unit) train, which was designed and manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur, Chennai under the Indian government’s Make in India initiative, over a span of 18 months.
It is an all air-conditioned chair car service with premium aircraft-style comforts. Vande Bharat has 16 coaches. It is engine-less, that is, it runs on distributed traction and its first prototype was ready by the end of 2018.
It has a speed potential of 160 kmph and design speed of 180 kmph.
Currently, there are two Vande Bharat trains operating on the Indian Railways network, the first one on the Delhi-Varanasi route and the second one on the Delhi-Katra route. These train have features like onboard infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, CCTV cameras, automatic sliding doors with retractable coach footsteps and zero discharge vacuum-based bio-toilets.
According to a Times of India report, the trains have European-style seats, rotating seats in executive class, diffused LED lighting, personalised reading lights, automatic entry/exit doors with sliding footsteps, fully sealed gangways for dust-free environment, modular bio-vacuum toilets, mini pantry and sensor-based interconnecting doors in each coach.
Changes in 2021
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August, 2021 announced that 75 ‘Vande Bharat’ trains would connect different parts of the country in 75 weeks to mark the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ being observed by the nation.
Following the announcement, the Indian Railways has decided to introduce additional features to the new trains. They include centralised coach monitoring system for climate control and to monitor all electrical and vital systems onboard, four emergency lights in each coach which can be used in a disaster situation if the normal lights fail during that time and increase the number of emergency buttons to four. Besides, better flood protection of underframe equipment especially meant to ensure safety during monsoon was to be added.
These upgraded Vande Bharat trains were set to be ready by March 2022.
The new plan
According to an Indian Express report, the 400 new Vande Bharat trainsets are going to be made of light-weight aluminium, as opposed to steel. Being made of aluminium each trainset is around 50 tonnes lighter in weight, consuming much less energy than their counterparts made of steel.
The cost of each train is around Rs 25 crore more than current ones, which cost around Rs 106 crore per set of 16 coaches.
Following the budget announcements, stocks of companies working in the rail sector were higher. Fortune India reported shares of IRCTC, Titagarh Wagons and Siemens were higher on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
With input from agencies