Chennai, India (Urban Transport News): Indian Railways' Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai is presently working on manufacturing of a sleeper coach prototype of the Vande Bharat train sets, which have become a hit among the commuters. This prototype will be ready by the end of this financial year, said B.G. Mallya, General Manager, ICF.
Addressing a press conference at Vande Bharat manufacturing site on 26th May, he said the Railway Ministry has sanctioned a total of 200 sleeper coaches of the Vande Bharat Express trains and has given orders to manufacture 80 train sets to the ICF. "The sleeper coach of the Vande Bharat Express train would have total of 16 air-conditioned compartments — one first-class, 4 second-class and 11 three-tier coaches. The sleeper coaches of the Vande Bharat Express will have a total carrying capacity of 830 persons," he informed.
The ICF, which is at present the only factory manufacturing VB train sets in the country, rolled out the 21st train this week. The semi high-speed train, which has no locomotives unlike the conventional trains, operates through all propulsion or distributed car rolling stock, for hauling the train coaches, thereby managing a faster turnaround of operations of the trains in the return direction, higher acceleration and speedier braking, and better efficiency.
Talking about the operating speed, Mallya said the Vande Bharat train has been tested to 180 kilometres per hour (kmph) and could be operated at a maximum speed of 160 kmph. The Vande Bharat Express on the Agra-Delhi section was operated at the maximum speed.
Mallya said the ICF would be able to manufacture a total of 77 Vande Bharat Express train sets in this financial year as against a total order of 115 Vande Bharat train sets.
Commenting on Railway Ministry's announcement that it would have 75 Vande Bharat trains by August this year, Mallya said despite the Vande Bharat coach manufacturing having attained indigenisation of 85% to 90%, the delay caused in the availability of axle and forge wheels and also the shortage of computer chips used to power the electronics, has put stress on the manufacturing side. The axle and forge wheel supplier being based out of Ukraine, the war in that country resulted in the slowdown, he added.
He said that ICF is also designing a 15-coach Vande Bharat suburban train, which would be 12-feet wide with a carrying capacity of 6,000 people.
"Apart from this, ICF is also designing a prototype for the Vande Metro, which will also be a replacement for the mainline electrical multiple coach (EMU), like the one running between Jolarpettai and Arakkonam, and it would have eight coaches with a carrying capacity of 300 persons per coach. One train set of the Vande Metro is to be manufactured by the ICF this financial year," he added.