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Rail Board chief counters ICF on Vande Bharat deadline, says 44 trains will roll out in 2-3 yrs

Chairman V.K. Yadav said Integral Coach Factory, Rail Coach Factory and Modern Coach Factory will together manufacture the Vande Bharat trains, which will cut down time.

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New Delhi: Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav Tuesday said that 44 Vande Bharat trains will be seen running in the next 2-3 years as planned.

His statement came hours after ThePrint reported that according to the Integral Coach Factory’s estimates (ICF), the 44 trains sets of the Vande Bharat Express could take six-and-a-half years to roll out

Yadav, in a virtual press conference, said that the ICF assessment was “internal”.

“The internal assessment was a normal timetable they (ICF) had drawn for themselves… And the Indian Railways had already taken a decision 3-4 months ago that ICF, RCF (Rail Coach Factory) and MCF (Modern Coach Factory) will together manufacture the Vande Bharat trains,” he said.

In December last year, the Railways had asked the Chennai-based ICF to produce 44 new sets — also called Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express — after which the ICF published a tender for supply of electrical equipment and other items. The tender is, however, yet to be finalised. These 44 train sets will have 16 coaches each.

However, in the virtual address, Yadav said that it would not be just the ICF alone that will manufacture the trains, and therefore, the time will be reduced by one-third automatically. 

“I assure you the trains will be running in the next 2-3 years,” he said.

“Once the tender is finalised, we will come up with a coordinated timetable,” he added. 

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‘Internal communications are meant for making decision’

Emphasising that the ICF assessment was an “internal communication”, Yadav said, “Internal communications are meant for making the decision. We want to assure you we will come up with a definite time schedule.” 

ThePrint reported in the morning that in a letter to the Railway Board dated 14 July, the ICF, which manufactures rail coaches for India, said it would take 28 months to introduce the prototype rakes into commercial service. 

Additionally, it would take six months to start the series production, and subsequently, the supply of series equipment of each of the 44 rakes would take one month each.

In total, the whole process would thus take up to 78 months to complete, according to the ICF’s estimates. This puts the estimated date for the rollout of all these train sets at 2027.

Sources told ThePrint that even though earlier this month, the Railway Board told the Prime Minister’s Office that the rest of the 44 trains will be completed in two years, it is next to “impossible” to achieve this target.

However, Yadav’s claim has raised eyebrows, with senior railway officials expressing skepticism over it.

“The tender was done by the ICF, so how will others manufacture the trains?” asked a senior official on condition of anonymity. 

“And regardless of who makes it, the prototype will take 28 months… So how can trains be rolled out in 2-3 years?” 

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  1. Thanks for CRB to have firm commitment towards new kind railway products for nation’s development. We also appreciate chennai ICF team to contribute their efforts and development of vande bharat express with foreign collabration at minimum level.Its a remarkable achievement for the nation.hoping for country can see wonders from railways within 10 years.

  2. Congratulations to CRB for the confident reply to possible rolling of 44VB 2018 trains within 3 years,As a Retired PWI from SCR,where CRB worked as Proud GM, his answer will come to certainly. Thanks to him,and good luck,. I traveled between NDLS to Varnasi durin 2019 beginning, really I wondered of ICF ,Indian Make beutiful train and good running,🙏👌😭💐💐👌

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