Indian Railways is planning to manufacture about 640 coaches of country’s first semi-high speed train, the ‘Train 18’ later rechristened as Vande Bharat Express, in the next three years.
This information was given by Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The production programmes for 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 include the manufacture of 160, 240 and 240 coaches respectively for train sets at Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Two rakes have already been put into service.
Train 18 is a semi high speed, fully air conditioned train, having quicker acceleration and contemporary passenger amenities like onboard infotainment and GPS based passenger information system, CCTV, automatic sliding doors with retractable coach footsteps and zero discharge vacuum-based bio-toilets etc.
Safety oscillation trials have been certified by Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), and thereafter, based on the certification and own inspection, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) has cleared the train sets for commercial operations.
At present, ‘Train 18’ trains are being operated on New Delhi-Varanasi and New Delhi- Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra routes.
Train 18 is a Shatabdi-type train of “Semi High Speed" offering additional amenities and advantages to the passengers. The fare of these trains has, therefore, been fixed higher than that of Shatabdi trains.
Earlier, the Railway Minister in a written reply in Rajya Sabha said, "The Integral Coach Factory (ICF), a departmental Production Unit of Indian Railways has so far produced two 'Vande Bharat' train sets consisting of 16 coaches each. These train sets are the first two prototypes with ultra-modern facilities,"
"These being prototypes, it is not possible to ascertain their exact cost at this stage including various overheads, especially as ICF also produced over 3,000 other coaches in 2018-19.
"Indian Railways is planning to produce 40 'Vande Bharat' rakes and it would be possible to determine the exact cost of manufacturing during their production," Goyal added.