High speed / Semi-High speed rail projects of Indian Railways

RISING SUN

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Big boost to Make in India! Indian Railways finalises tender for 44 rakes of Vande Bharat Type trains; details​

Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ mission to get a big boost as more Vande Bharat Express type trains are likely to run on the Indian Railways network soon. Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry has finalized the tender for design, manufacture, development, integration, supply, testing as well as commissioning of IGBT based 3-Phase Propulsion, Control as well as other equipment for as many as for 44 rakes of Vande Bharat type train sets, with each comprising of 16 cars on 21 January 2021. According to a press release issued by the Railway Ministry, the procurement includes a comprehensive annual maintenance contract of five years with the supplier.

According to the Railway Ministry, for manufacturing the train sets indigenously, the specifications were prepared after multiple deliberations with the industry at various levels. The tender, for the first time, required a minimum 75 per cent local content requirement of the total value of the tender, the ministry said. The move is expected to give a boost to the Modi government’s “AtmaNirbhar Bharat” mission.

The Railway Ministry said three bidders participated in this tender for 44 rakes of Vande Bharat type train sets, and the lowest offer was from indigenous manufacturer Medha Servo Drives Limited who met the minimum local content of 75 per cent of the total value successfully. The tender for 44 rakes of 16 car each was finalised on Medha Servo Drives Limited for all in cost of Rs 2211,64,59,644.

These rakes will be produced at three production units of the national transporter– 24 rakes at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, 10 rakes at Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala and balance 10 rakes at Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Raebareli. According to the ministry, the delivery schedule for the supply of these 44 Vande Bharat rakes is – first, two prototype rakes will be delivered in a period of 20 months. On successful commissioning of these rakes, thereafter, the company will be delivering an average of six rakes per quarter, the Railway Ministry added.
 

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RISING SUN

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India’s Second Bullet Train Project: Survey begins for high-speed train corridor between these cities​

India is moving forward with its second Bullet train project after Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed train corridor. From Friday, 12th March, LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging survey started for the proposed High Speed Rail Corridor between Mumbai and Nagpur. It will be part of the Detailed Project Report or DPR. India’s proposed second bullet train project will pass through cities in Maharshtra like Shahapur, Igatpuri, Nashik, Mehkar, Malegaon, Pulgaon, Wardha and Khapri and will be 736-km long, PTI said quoting a release by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL). The LiDar technology used in the survey expedites the process and the survey with all the data is expected to be finished in just 3-4 months against 10-12 months taken usually for such work, it said.

LiDAR surveys are done by using state-of-the-art technology in which aerial LiDAR and imagery sensors are fitted over an aeroplane and the airborne devises capture the data related to ground survey. High-power 100 megapixel cameras are used in the LiDAR technlogy to get a clear picture of the surrounding structures, trees and other minute ground details and topography.

NHSRCL has proposals to conduct these surveys and prepare the DPR for seven High Speed Rail Corridors in India. Apart from Mumbai-Nagpur, other proposed Bullet train projects are 459 kilometres long Delhi-Amritsar corridor, Varanasi-Howrah corridor, 865 kilometres long Delhi-Varanasi corridor, Delhi-Ahmedabad corridor, 711 kilometres long Mumbai-Hyderabad corridor and 435 kilometres long Chennai-Mysore corridor. Last year, the Railway Board Chairman and CEO, Vinod Kumar Yadav said that these seven new Bullet train projects will completed using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

India’s first Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train corridor is going to be 508 km long and is based on Japan’s E5 Shinkansen technology. Modi govt’s ambitious railway project will boast speeds of over 300 km per hour.
 

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Indian Railway awards consultancy contracts for Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSL​

INDIAN Railways (IR) awarded contracts to a pair of consortia led by Nippon Koei and Tata Consulting Engineers on March 22, which cover the provision of project management consultancy services for 13 civil works packages on the project.


The contracts will run for eight years, indicating that IR expects construction of the 508km Mumbai – Ahmedabad high-speed line to overshoot its 2023 completion deadline by approximately five years.


When asked for comments on expected project completion delays, National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) spokesperson, Mr Sushma Gaur, said the 96-month tenure for project consultants would “include a number of post construction activities” and that their work “would go well beyond contract closure.”


However, former railway board member, Mr Subodh Jain, disputed this, saying that “activities of project consultants can be extended for a maximum period of six months and not years.”


Gaur responded that “it was too early to comment on project costs, as this could only be calculated after all tender packages were finalised and awarded.”


The Nippon Koei-led consortium includes Oriental Consultants Global and Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites). The Tata-led consortium includes the Consulting Engineers Group, Aarvee Associates Architects Engineers and Padeco.


The project has been delayed due to issues concerning revised costs and problems relating to land acquisition in Maharashtra state. However, NHSRCL has continued to proceed, awarding contracts for the construction of two sections in Gujarat to Larsen & Toubro in November 2020.


Such an approach is beset with inherent complications, however. For example, revised project costs have neither been calculated nor sanctioned by the Union Cabinet.


In addition, NHSRCL has decided to break the project into two phases (Gujarat and Maharashtra), with the Gujarat portion to be built first. However, such a decision requires approval by the “competent authority,” in this case the union cabinet, which has not yet been granted.


Thirdly, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Japanese and Indian governments to construct the high-speed line contains a precondition that civil works will only start after 80% of the land needed for the project has been acquired. With the NHSRCL beginning construction work in Gujarat, this clause will be under scrutiny. As of February, NHSRCL had acquired 72.57% of the total land required.


The project has also suffered from a rise in costs, from an estimate of Rs 970bn ($US 13.4bn) in 2015, to Rs 1.08 trillion following the government’s decision to build an entirely elevated corridor. Officials from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which is partially funding the project, say that the costs of several components were undervalued at the time of the submission of the first feasibility report in 2015. The Covid-19 pandemic has also put an additional strain on project costs.
 

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Vande Bharat push: 10 trains to link 40 cities for [email protected]

Vande Bharat, the indigenous semi-high speed train set, is being given a boost with the Railways gearing to roll out at least 10 such new trains, linking around 40 cities, by August 2022 to commemorate 75 years of Independence.

Among his first moves after assuming office, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw is learnt to have reviewed the project and directed that the rollout plan be advanced to connect at least 40 cities with the Vande Bharat trains by August 2022 to show a visible upgrade in the country’s rail services.

Hyderabad-based engineering firm Medha, which in February secured the contract to supply the electrical systems for 44 Vande Bharat trains, has now been told to advance its production plan, so that at least two prototypes can be rolled out by March next year following all trials.

There is a contract condition that along with all trials and testing that are needed to okay a Vande Bharat, the prototype train set that comes out of its stable should also complete 1 lakh kilometres of commercial run, with passengers, before the following lot can be placed for production.

This condition means that the Vande Bharat trains could take months to hit the tracks commercially. Without the thrust, the plan was to roll out the first set of trains on the tracks by December 2022 or early 2023.

On Saturday, the Railway Board held a meeting headed by chairman Suneet Sharma. It was attended by Board members concerned, General Managers of production units, the Research Design and Standards Organisation and other engineers to work out the nuts and bolts of the new plan on a war footing, sources said.

If all three production units are put to use, Railways can manufacture around six-seven Vande Bharat train sets every month, officials estimate.
Vande Bharat is the name given to India’s own semi-high speed train set, a collection of 16 coaches, self-propelled, and do not require an engine to haul them. This is called distributed traction power, which is increasingly becoming the norm the world over, as opposed to locomotive-hauled trains.

Being run with the distributed power mechanism, the Vande Bharat has faster acceleration and deceleration, helping it to maintain a higher average speed despite stoppages. This ensures that the Vande Bharat takes less time in completing its runs than ordinary loco-hauled trains, like even the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi, wherein time and speed are lost when a train has to stop and gather speed again.

With automatic doors, airline-like seating and upgraded features for passenger comfort and convenience, the Vande Bharat is India’s answer to modern train travel.

Currently, only two Vande Bharat trains are operational — one from Delhi to Varanasi, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, and another from Delhi to Katra.

The plan is to get 100 such trains eventually. And with renewed specifications formalised after deliberations with industry players over the past one-and-half years, the contract to supply electricals for 44 of them was awarded to Medha this year. Earlier, Spanish coach-making company CAF had been given an order to supply one prototype rake, which is still not in. Now, there remains approval in Railway’s Rolling Stock Programme to manufacture 59 more Vande Bharat.

The cost of producing 100 Vande Bharat would be around Rs 11,000 crore — at around Rs 110 crore per train, each with 16 coaches.

With the new plan, the idea is to get maximum train sets rolled out by 2024 by utilising the three production units — Integral Coach Factory, Chennai; Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli; and Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala.
 

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BIG BOOST to PM Narendra Modi's ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision, Make-in-India campaign - Alstom begins manufacturing of trains for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS project​

Giving fillip to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision and Make-in-India movement, Alstom, a multinational sustainable mobility provider in India, has begun manufacturing of regional commuter and transit trains for the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut semi-high-speed rail corridor for RRTS Phase 1. The company will design, build and deliver 210 regional commuter and transit train cars over 15 years, contract for which was awarded to the company in May 2020.

A game Changer in India’s regional rail segment
"This project is a game-changer in India’s regional rail segment, benefitting millions of people and contributing towards socio-economic development. We are happy to begin local manufacturing of these technologically advanced trains for the country’s first semi high-speed commuter service,” said Alain SPOHR, Managing Director – Alstom India.



‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, 'Make-in-India' Push
As per the contract, Alstom will deliver 30 regional commuter trainsets of six cars each and 10 intracity mass transit trainsets of three cars each. In accordance with India’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision and the Make-in-India guidelines, these RRTS trains are 100% indigenously manufactured, with over 80% localisation and are being manufactured in Alstom’s factory in Savli (Gujarat). This facility will produce the bogies, car bodies and undertake train testing. The propulsion systems and electricals are being manufactured at the company’s factory in Maneja (Gujarat).



First look
The first look of the train for India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) was unveiled in September 2020. Inspired by Delhi’s iconic monument, The Lotus Temple, the fresh, modern and advanced look of the new trains resonate a unique amalgamation of sustainability and India’s rich heritage.



Superior passenger experience
These energy efficient semi-high-speed aerodynamic trains will incorporate latest tech features to provide a superior passenger experience, to all commuters, including the specially abled. These trains have been developed with the vision to transform the future of regional commute for passengers in India. The RRTS corridors will operate the fastest trains in India with a design speed of 180 kmph. Right ergonomics, safety, low life cycle costs and high recyclability also contribute towards making these trains an attractive sustainable choice to promote public transport thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution significantly.