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Alstom Wins Bid for Vande Bharat Trains, Boosting Rail Modernization in India

Alstom Wins Bid for Vande Bharat Trains, Boosting Rail Modernization in India

Vande Bharat trains are India’s first semi-high-speed trains that can run at a maximum speed of 220 kmph and have a distributed power system. The trains are designed to provide a comfortable and safe travel experience to passengers with features such as automatic doors, sliding footsteps, bio-vacuum toilets, CCTV cameras, GPS-based passenger information system and fire alarm system.

The Indian Railways had floated a tender in July 2020 for manufacturing and maintenance of 100 aluminium body Vande Bharat trains with sleeper facility. The tender was part of the government’s Make in India initiative and aimed to boost the domestic manufacturing sector and create employment opportunities.

The tender received two bids from global rolling stock giants – Alstom and Medha Servo Drives. Alstom is a French multinational company that has been operating in India since 1959 and has a strong presence in the railway and urban transport sector. Medha Servo Drives is an Indian company that manufactures electrical equipment for railways and has partnered with Swiss company Stadler Rail for this project.

According to media reports, Alstom has emerged as the lowest bidder for the tender with a quote of Rs 150.99 crore per trainset, which is 11 per cent lower than Medha’s quote of Rs 169.9 crore per trainset. The railway facility in Sonepat, Haryana, is where Alstom intends to produce the trains. The total value of the order is estimated to be around Rs 36,000 crore without tax and price variation clause.

The order also includes a 35-year maintenance contract for the trains, which will be India’s first trains made of aluminium. Aluminium is a lighter and more durable material than steel and can reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the trains.

The delivery of the first trainset is expected to start within 24 months from the date of awarding the contract and will be completed within six years. The trains will be deployed on various routes across the country and will enhance the connectivity and mobility of passengers.

The Vande Bharat project is a flagship initiative of the Indian Railways to modernize its infrastructure and services and provide world-class travel experience to its customers. The project also showcases India’s technological prowess and innovation in the field of railway engineering.

For the current tender, the government had budgeted for about five bids, with firms like Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd., Siemens, a German company that partners with BEML, Russian Transmashholding, and others likely to submit proposals. But these businesses opted out of bidding

These trains were scheduled to debut on February 15 after the government issued a request for proposals in July of last year. However, due to the lacklustre response, the deadline for placing a bid was extended to February 23.

Indian Railways plans to launch the first Vande Bharat sleeper train in the first quarter of 2024. The Railways has so far allocated contracts for the manufacturing of 102 Vande Bharat chair trains and 200 Vande Bharat sleeper trains.

The lofty goal of running 75 Vande Bharat trains by August 2024 set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be achieved after all. The Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala allegedly fell short of its objective of 32 Vande Bharat trains in 2022–2023 by failing to deliver even one of them.

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