Indian Railways’ big plans for future: Upgraded Vande Bharat trains, new station redevelopment model and more

by Joseph K. Clark

Under the leadership of new Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, Indian Railways eyes on rolling out new ‘Make in India’ Vande Bharat trains, introducing a new model for redevelopment of railway stations with private players, planning the economy of scale in freight business as well as a foray into global market with indigenous technology. The national transporter has overhauled the Vande Bharat project, wherein the upcoming trainsets will have technical specifications that are an upgrade on the current Vande Bharat set in terms of passenger comfort and ride quality.

According to officials in an IE report, the national transporter has overhauled the Vande Bharat project under Vaishnav. The upcoming trainsets will have technical specifications that upgrade the current Vande Bharat set regarding passenger comfort and ride quality. Also, there are plans to export globally. India is the world’s ninth country to manufacture 180 km per hour trainsets, and the Vande Bharat trains, at current prices, are comparatively cheaper than their global counterparts.

Under the new Railway Minister, the station redevelopment project is being recast in partnership with private players. According to the sources quoted in the report, the Model Concession Agreement might be done again to make them more attractive for Indian Railways and private players. Only two players have come forward in the first-ever tender to run private passenger trains, and it has been decided to overhaul the model completely for better success. Internally, it is said that Indian Railways treats the tender result for the 12 clusters as a “good beginning”.

Indian Railways

For the freight business, Indian Railways is exploring a model to bring down logistics costs and play with its freight tariffs to make them more competitive. A senior official has said that by 2024, Indian Railways aims to overshoot the target and go for maybe 3,000 MT of goods carried in a year, approximately three times the current volume.

Besides, the national transporter also plans to develop its own Train Collision Avoidance System and, to start with, roll it out through Indian manufacturing partners across 10,000 kilometers. According to officials, the technology renamed “Kavach” will be an effective alternative for conventional in-cab signaling and enhance the network’s throughput. The Railway Minister has also instructed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor project’s speedy execution, especially in the portion of Gujarat where land acquisition is more or less complete.

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