India: B.G. Mallya, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF, part of the national operator Indian Railways), spoke about the plans for the production of the domestically developed electric train in an interview with Financial Express. ROLLINGSTOCK grouped his speech into talking points.
1️⃣ The Vande Metro modification development is getting finalized (ICF itself produced the very first trains of this platform). It will have reduced composition from 16 to 8 cars and the aisle between seats will be enlarged to increase passenger capacity in each car to 250-300 people. The Vande Metro will have automatic doors, toilets and air conditioning system. In addition, it is planned that their maximum speed will be 130 km/h. The matter is now being elaborated with India’s Ministry of Transport. In January, ICF received an order for a Vande Metro prototype, which is scheduled to enter serial production in 2024-2025.
2️⃣ A prototype sleeper car is expected to be launched this year, Mallya points out. Trains with such cars will be designed to run for distances of up to 2,000 km. Indian Railways is now holding a tender for production of 200 Vande Bharat third-generation trains, which envisages delivery of sleeper cars among others. Currently, the bid by the consortium of Russian TMH with local Rail Vikas Nigam has been declared the lowest, no decision on the winner has been announced yet.
3️⃣ ICF itself to produce 46 Vande Bharat trains in the next financial year (April-March). In the future, the plant plans to manufacture aluminium trains (currently, stainless steel is being used). This includes a project to make a Vande Bharat with a top speed of 200 km/h. Meanwhile, Alstom and the consortium of Stadler and Medha Servo Drives have submitted bids for 100 aluminium-bodied Vande Bharat trains.