Manufacturing of new Train 18 coaches come to a screeching standstill
July 12, 2019
The Ministry of Railways has ordered the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) to cancel all ongoing tender processes for the production of the Vande Bharat Express (Train 18 Coaches) rakes. The reason behind this strict action is the violation of certain specifications in the design of the successfully running Train18. Hence, it will go back to the drawing table. Investigation is also on into claims that one company was favoured in the making of the ₹97 crore train set.
Natively built by Team ICF in record time, Vande Bharat Express, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi between New Delhi and Varanasi on February 15, 2019. It has been observed as one of the most successful products of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Moreover, Vande Bharat Express has been running with no reported issues since the last six months.
Due to the directions by Railway Board, officials have taken away hundreds of files relating to the making of this train from the ICF. The primary issue was that production of Train 18 coaches had numerous digressions from the specifications stated by Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO).The ICF has now decided to follow the RDSO specifications for electrics and go for new tendering.
However, ICF engineers who were part of the first train say that the train was built to industry standard specifications.“There was no compromise on safety framework. The train is successfully running since the last six months at great speed between New Delhi and Varanasi. If we had stuck to RDSO specification, the axle load would have been much higher leading to lesser speed. Also, the cost would have been higher,” a senior engineer involved in the making of Train 18 stated.
A game changer
The objective was to produce a world-class train at the lowest possible cost and highest output. “Team ICF attained this goal and Train 18 was seen as a game changer in the industry,” an official said.
He quoted the Railway Board, in a recent meeting of Principal Chief Mechanical Engineers, saying that “Vande Bharat Express has taken the world by storm. It was a humongous job to get the service started. The credit goes to all the units who have worked with effort in the project.”