Budget 2022-Railways: 400 energy-efficient Vande Bharat trains in the next 3 years, according to Sitharaman

Taking a step towards an engineless propulsion system for its passenger trains in the future, India has decided to manufacture 400 new, more efficient Vande Bharat trains over the next three years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in his Union budget speech Tuesday.

The 400 trains will be added to the 102 Vande Bharat trains that are already in preparation, sources said.

Keeping an eye on farmers, the railway sector will also develop “One Station One Product” which will take advantage of local products transported by railways, Sitharaman said. The railways will also deploy postal railways for parcel transport, giving impetus to a new business sector.

Sitharaman said, “400 new generation Vande Bharat trains with improved efficiency will be put into service over the next three years. 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo terminals to be developed over the next three years and innovative ways of building metro systems to be implemented.

Sitharaman said, “400 new generation Vande Bharat trains with improved efficiency will be put into service over the next three years. 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo terminals to be developed over the next three years and innovative ways of building metro systems to be implemented.

The 400 new trains will mainly be made of lightweight aluminium, as opposed to steel, which marks a departure from India’s traditional choice of metal for the manufacture of its coaches, railway sources said, although Officially, the railways remained silent.

The paperwork for the aluminum coaches had already begun before the budget with senior Railroad Commission officials working on the advantages over the current steel coaches.

Made of aluminium, each trainset weighs around 50 tonnes less and consumes less energy than its steel counterparts. The cost of each trainset is around Rs 25 crore more than current trainsets, which cost around Rs 106 crore per set of 16 cars.

However, sources said that although after accounting for inflation and other costs associated with the current steel Vande Bharat sets, the cost of the aluminum ones turns out to be slightly higher, the money saved through less energy consumed is higher, translating into higher revenue potential for the railways, officials said.

Vande Bharat is the name given to India’s own semi-rapid train, a collection of 16 cars, self-propelled, and requiring no engine to transport them. This is called distributed tractive power, which is increasingly becoming the norm around the world, as opposed to locomotive-pulled trains.

“Any new technology we bring in has to be considered from a passenger perspective… lower noise levels, lower vibration, better safety and better experience. These are the kind of Vande Bharat trains we will bring,” said said Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw at a press conference after the budget.

He added: “The first version of the Vande Bharat trains is already in service. The production of version 2.0 will start in August-September this year. Just as cell phones come with new and better versions, this technology will also improve with each release.

This year, the Ministry of Finance has planned a capital investment worth Rs 2.45 lakh crore from the railways, in which about Rs 1.08 lakh crore will be raised through extra-budgetary resources. Last year, the railways set a capital expenditure target of Rs 2.15 lakh crore, which they will be able to maintain by the end of this financial year, according to budget documents.

“The increase in allocation will be used for security and increasing capacity through super-critical and critical projects,” Vaishnaw said.

The railways hope to end this fiscal year with an operating ratio of 98.93% according to revised estimates, which is worse than the 96.15% set in last year’s budget estimates.

The rolling stock program could see projects worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore spread over the next few years, including the manufacture of the new Vande Bharat trainsets, new high performance freight locomotives and other products.

In terms of revenue, the national carrier estimates its revenue at around Rs 2.4 lakh crore, about Rs 38,000 crore more than last year. Banking on the recovery of its passenger business, which has been hit since 2020 due to the pandemic, the railways estimates to earn Rs 58,500 crore in passenger business, up Rs 14,000 crore, a growth of approximately 31% compared to the last financial year. .

Next year, the railways have targeted an ambitious target of 1,475 million tonnes of freight. In the freight sector, the railways exceeded their budget estimates for this year. While the estimate for this financial year was to carry cargo worth Rs 1.37 lakh crore, in the revised estimates, it hopes to do business worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore. In the next financial year, it hopes to increase this figure to Rs 1.65 lakh crore.

As for safety, the indigenous anti-collision system, called Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) now renamed “Kavach”, which has gone through various stages of use in recent years, will cover 2,000 km of the railway network.

The railways are already running a tranche of 44 Vande Bharat trains to run them on at least 75 routes by August 15, 2023. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in his speech on the day of independence that 75 Vande Bharat trains would connect different parts of the country by 2023.

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