400 Vande Bharat trains to be manufactured in next 3 years

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/2/2022 11:37:59 AM Front Page

New Delhi: India will manufacture 400 new-generation Vande Bharat trains in the next three years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Tuesday, adding the Railways will also introduce new products and efficient logistics services for small farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises.
The 2022-23 General Budget presented by Sitharaman in Parliament earmarked Rs 1.4 lakh crore for the Railways Ministry, an increase of around Rs 20,000 crore from the revised estimates of the previous fiscal.
According to officials, the cost of each 16-coach new-generation train set, which will be the third version of the Vande Bharat train with better energy efficiency and lighter in weight, will be around Rs 120 crore, about Rs 20 crore more than the first version. Currently, two Vande Bharat trains are in operation and contracts have already been awarded for the production of another 44 trains in this category. The 400 new-generation trains announced in the Budget will be in addition to these train sets.
Sitharaman also unveiled plans to develop 100 'PM GatiShakti' Cargo Terminals for multi-modal logistics facilities during the next three years. Contracts for multi-modal parks at four locations will be awarded during the next fiscal, she added.
The Railways will develop One Station One Product , which will leverage local produce carried on its network, and work to integrate the Postal and Railways networks to provide seamless solutions for movement of parcels, she said.
"400 new-generation Vande Bharat trains with better energy efficiency and passenger riding experience will be developed and manufactured during the next three years," Sitharaman said.
These new train sets are going to be made of light-weight aluminium, as opposed to steel, making each around 50 tonnes lighter in weight, consuming much less energy than their steel counterparts, she added.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw welcomed the announcements and said the two Vande Bharat trains currently in operation are state of the art trains, but the upcoming ones, which will be the third version, will be the 'Next Gen trains.'
Railways plans to manufacture 44 Vande Bharat trains of the second version in order to have them running on at least 75 routes by August 15, 2023, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.
Vaishnaw said testing of the second version of these trains will start from April and serial production will begin from August.
"Any new technology we bring in should be viewed from the perspective of passenger. The new trains will have reduced noise levels, reduced vibration, better safety and experience. That kind of Vande Bharat we will bring," he told reporters.
"Like mobile phones come with new and better versions, this technology will also get better with each version of the train."
In her Budget speech, Sitharaman said Railways will develop new products and efficient logistics services for small farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises, besides taking the lead in integration of Postal and Railways networks to provide seamless solutions for movement of parcels.
"One Station-One Product concept will be popularized to help local businesses and supply chains."
As part of Atmanirbhar Bharat, 2,000 km rail network will be brought under 'Kavach', the indigenous world-class technology for safety and capacity augmentation in 2022-23, she said.
"Innovative ways of financing and faster implementation will be encouraged for building metro systems of appropriate type at scale. Multi-modal connectivity between mass urban transport and railway stations will be facilitated on priority.
"Design of metro systems, including civil structures, will be re-oriented and standardized for Indian conditions and needs," she added.
According to the Budget documents, the Railway Ministry has been allocated budgetary support of Rs 1,40,367.13 crore for 2022-23, which is Rs 20,311 crore more than the revised estimates of the previous fiscal.
Overall, the national transporter is set to get a capital expenditure push of Rs 2.45 lakh crore in 2022-23, 14 percent higher than the budgeted capital expenditure of Rs 2.15 lakh crore for the current financial year.
Minister Vaishnaw said integration of posts and railways will bring better logistics solutions for people living in remote areas.
As far as the financial health of the Railways is concerned, the Budget has proposed the operating ratio for 2022-23 at 96.98 against 98.93 in the current fiscal.
With a dip in revenue on the one hand and high staff and pension costs at the other, the Railways' operating ratio a measure of its profitability continued to worsen and crossed 100 for two consecutive financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21. This means that to for every Rs 100 earned, the transporter spent more than Rs 100.
The Budget has also earmarked Rs 38,686.59 crore for investment in PSUs, joint ventures and special purpose vehicles.
The allocation for the development of rolling stock, which will be instrumental in bringing in new modern coaches and technology to the national transporter, has been pegged at Rs 7,977 crore.
The Budget has also allocated Rs 15,710.44 crore to the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), whose assets will be monetised by the Railways for operations and maintenance.
It has earmarked Rs 13,335.47 crore for track renewal, Rs 2,850 crore for gauge conversion and Rs 12,108 crore for doubling of tracks. A sum of Rs 25,243 crore has been allocated for new lines as well.
The Railways has budgeted to carry 8,595 million passengers in 2022-23, almost 2.5 times the number it carried in the previous year.
On the freight side, it has set a target to carry 1,475 million tonnes of cargo in 2022-23. The Railways has also set a revenue target of Rs 2.39 lakh crore for fiscal 2023, 18 percent higher from 2021-22.

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