India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) raised concerns about the outcome of the original tender, while IR has never finalised a single-tender contract in the past and decided to abandon the tender.
According to the terms of the original tender, only firms having existing manufacturing facilities for three-phase electric motors could qualify. “This clause is being deleted, so as to attract bigger participation from global manufacturers,” an IR official said.
IR intends to deploy the EMUs on premium main line routes such as Delhi - Mumbai and Delhi - Kolkata with the aim of providing higher passenger comfort and shorter journey times. The trains will have a top speed of 160km/h, compared with an average of 130km/h for premier Indian trains such as the Shatabdi and Rajdhani services. However, IR does not yet have any sections of line passed for 160km/h operation.
Meanwhile, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, a subsidiary of IR, has developed its own 16-car EMU with a top speed of 160km/h. The train, which is equipped with a three-phase IGBT propulsion system, is scheduled for roll out in June.
“Improved mechanical couplers and modern facilities such as zero-discharge vacuum toilets and automatic plug type doors have been fitted,” an ICF official said. ICF claims these trains will be manufactured at half the cost of foreign-designed trains.