PM Narendra Modi’s announcement on Vande Bharat Express Train a challenge for Indian Railways
Vande Bharat Express   |  Photo Credits: BCCL
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to run new 75 Vande Bharat Express from Red Fort.
- No roadmap has been issued by the Railways yet.
- It is hoped that the construction of Vande Bharat Express will be accelerated.
On the occasion of 75th anniversary of independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to run the country-made 75 cm high speed train Vande Bharat Express from Red Fort. But at the same time gave a big challenge to the Indian Railways and their new minister. In the end, how will this goal be accomplished? Given the current production timeline plan and the past track record, this does not seem possible at present. So far, no roadmap has been issued by the Railways, but according to the sources of the Ministry of Railways, soon new targets will be set by reviewing its production plan.
current production plan
Here once again after the announcement of the Prime Minister, hopes have been raised that the construction of Vande Bharat Express will be accelerated. At present, according to the timeline of the tender issued for 44 new trains, two proto type trains will be ready with new changes by March next year. Which will have a trial of about 1 lakh km for 3 to 4 months. After which production will start from September 2022. After that 6 rakes will be manufactured in a span of 3 months. However, this time they will be manufactured only at ICF ie Integral Coach Factory along with MCF Rae Bareli and RCF Kapurthala. 22 rakes are to be in Chennai ICF and 10 rakes in RCF and MCF. With this, the board is going to tender once for 59 new trains, after which their number will be close to 101.
Reasons for delay in Vande Bharat train construction and new changes
The same old Medha servo source has once again won the construction of the new version of Vande Bharat, but according to the new changed design, it has to make its two prototype trains available for trial between March and April next year. After which according to the new safety term, the process of its production will be started after 1 lakh km of trial. If all goes well, then new racks will start coming out from July-August next year. After the same new rake, if 4 to 6 trains can be manufactured every month in the existing production line, then March 2023 will be crossed in the formation of the first 44 rakes. Here the Prime Minister’s timeline for running 75 new trains is next one and a half years. The new rack includes everything from emergency windows to emergency lights, as well as emergency push buttons, centralized monitoring systems, ventilation systems for power outages. There will be changes in the high flood protection coating system.
Announcement about Vande Bharat even earlier
Just before the 2019 elections, when the Prime Minister had flagged off Vande Bharat Express for the first time for his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in Delhi, the Prime Minister had made a big announcement about this that the first semi-high speed train to be made in the country and 100 such trains. Will soon run on the tracks of Indian Railways. But what did they know that the pace of implementation of their announcements was slowed down by the internal strife within the Indian Railways. In 2021, once again from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister announced that 75 new Vande Bharat Express trains will run in the country within the next 75 weeks i.e. one and a half years.
Looking at the current preparedness of the Ministry of Railways and the history of Vande Bharat, the possibility of this target also becoming a declaration is more likely. If this happens, then not only will it be a disgrace for the government, but it will also be a challenge for Ashwin Vaishnav, who has been appointed as the new Railway Minister.
Story of creation of Vande Bharat
When it comes to the construction of train sets, the people of two different departments of Railways, Mechanical and Electrical, come face to face. As a result, the matter would have remained stuck in the files. But for the first time, Suresh Prabhu as the Railway Minister approved the proposal to make a train set and ICF Chennai, the oldest railway factory of the Railways, was given the responsibility. Two goals were placed in front of the then GM Sudhanshu Mani. The project was prepared in January 2017 while work on this proposal started in April. The target was set for the year 2018 and named T18, a Shatabdi type chair car which was named T18 Train 18 and the other sleeper train was named T20. Whose attempt was to replace long distance trains like Rajdhani.
When the first train came out, it was run for Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi. The Prime Minister flagged off from Delhi to Varanasi, after which it was announced to run 100 new Vande Bharat Express in the country. But perhaps the internal tussle in the railways started defaming the train even before it could run. It was alleged that the power consumption is high as compared to other trains. Train seats are not comfortable. There were also allegations of irregularity in the process of train construction. The investigation was started, here a committee was formed to review the technical review of the train again. This delayed the process of train construction, as a result, even after 3 years of its announcement, apart from two rakes, not a single new Vande Bharat train came.
(This article is authored by Kundan Singh, Special Correspondent for Times Now Navbharat)
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