INDIAN Railways (IR) has increased the planned annual production rate of T-18 Vande Bharat 160km/h EMUs from 22 to 55 sets for 2022-23, under a revised rolling stock plan.

To achieve this, the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will produce an additional four sets each month from April, while the Amethi-based Modern Coach Factory (MCF) and the Kapurthala-based Rail Coach Factory (RCF) will continue to produce 10 sets each per month.

The first prototype sets from an order for 44 trains awarded to the Medha Servo Drives in January last year have not yet been delivered. IR floated a second tender in August 2021 for 58 additional sets.

“With the prototype design not having been tested or finalised, meeting the targets for the manufacture of 75 Vande Bharat sets appears tight,” a ministry official conceded.

Overall, the annual rolling stock production plan has been increased by 878 units from 7551 to 8429, compared with a target of 8115 units in the previous fiscal year.

In the 2022 budget, the Indian government announced plans for the manufacture of 400 semi-high-speed Vande Bharat trains by 2025. Rail experts say this will be difficult to meet given IR’s modest manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile, new types of vehicles including cargo-liner double deck coaches and EMUs have been added to the annual production plan. RCF has been tasked with manufacturing 20 cargo-liner double deck coaches, while ICF Chennai will manufacture 32 freight EMU coaches. An official said that as the freight EMU designs have not yet been approved, it will be difficult to meet the manufacturing targets this year.

On February 20, IR ordered another 10 22-car Tejas semi high-speed trains, which were not included in the original rolling stock plan. Another 70 Vistadome coaches have also been included in the plan, with 40 to be manufactured at ICF Chennai with the remainder to be manufactured in Kapurthala.

According to the revised plan, 10 mainline EMUs sets with 3 phase ac traction will be manufactured at the Amethi facility, while targets on production of non-air-conditioned (ac) sleeper coaches have increased from 32 to 200 coaches. The factory will also produce an additional 50 three tier ac economy variant coaches. At the same time, the production targets for first class ac sleeper coaches, two tier ac sleeper coaches and standard three tier ac sleeper coaches have been reduced by 190 units.

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