Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) led consortium has won a mega tender by the Ministry of Railways in India to supply 80 Vande Bharat trains at a cost of Rs 120 crore per train. As per the terms of the agreement, the consortium will also undertake the comprehensive maintenance of the sleeper-class trains for a period of 35 years.
Apart from the supply of the trains, the consortium will also be responsible for equipping, upgrading, operating, and maintaining the designated manufacturing unit at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai and two assigned depots provided by Indian Railways.
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The Vande Bharat train is India’s first indigenously manufactured semi-high-speed trainset, also known as Train 18. It is designed to run at speeds of up to 160 km/h and is equipped with modern amenities such as GPS-based passenger information systems, onboard Wi-Fi, and CCTV cameras for enhanced security.
The Titagarh Wagons consortium has been tasked with the manufacturing and maintenance of the 80 Vande Bharat Trainsets, including the upgradation of relevant government manufacturing units and trainset depots. The trains will be supplied within 72 months, and the consortium will be responsible for their maintenance for 35 years after the supplies are made.
There has been a growing demand for the introduction of sleeper class Vande Bharat trainsets, which are capable of operating on long-distance routes such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah. Currently, all operational Vande Bharat trains only have chair car and executive chair car classes, which cater to shorter distance routes.
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In a recent development, the Indian Railways opened the financial bids for the manufacturing of 200 Vande Bharat trains equipped with sleeper coaches. The order was divided between two companies – the Russian firm TMH along with RVNL won the contract for manufacturing 120 Vande Bharat trains at Latur, while Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)-led consortium secured the order for 80 Vande Bharat trains.