The Indian Railways is firming up an order worth Rs 2,000 crore for the manufacture of 50 push-pull trains with coaches at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, and Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala.
The locomotives will be manufactured at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) in West Bengal.
In a gradual changeover, all mail or express trains will be replaced by push-pull rakes as the Railways is moving ahead with a major shift from the current Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coach regime to upgraded coaches with modern features.
Moreover, while the indigenously built Vande Bharat trains with seating facility are being run on Shatabdi routes, the soon-to-be introduced Vande Bharat sleeper trains would be pressed into service on Rajdhani routes.
The push-pull arrangement in locomotives enables trains to be operated from either end. This setup involves attaching a locomotive at both ends of the train. As a result, the train is propelled forward by both locomotives working together.
While the Vande Bharat fare is about 40 per cent higher than the Shatabdi base fare, the push-pull train fare is 15 per cent higher than the mail or express fare.
Recently, the Railways launched two push-pull trains named Amrit Bharat Express in two different routes.
While the first Amrit Bharat Express is plying as Darbhanga-Ayodhya-Anand Vihar, the second one is between Malda Town and Sir M Visvesvaraya Terminus (Bengaluru).
These two routes were selected considering the heavy rush of passengers, mostly migrants, who flock to bigger cities in search of jobs.
According to the Railways, the state-of-the-art Amrit Bharat trains feature enhanced acceleration, ensuring efficient starts and stops. These trains save significant time at curves, bridges, and stations, improving overall journey efficiency.
Smooth travel without jerks is ensured throughout the train's journey. The semi-permanent couplers guarantee efficient brake functioning, preventing any abrupt movements.
While the recently launched push-pull trains have non-AC coaches (without air conditioning) only, there are plans to introduce AC coaches in these trains.
The current composition of the push-pull train has 22 coaches with reserved and non-reserved categories. All the coaches have modern amenities like CCTV, bio-vacuum toilets, passenger information system, and better interiors and seating arrangement.
The Railways maintains that a push-pull train has a higher acceleration system to make the train run faster than normal loco-hauled trains. It also has an improved braking system which enables the train to stop faster than other normal trains.
Since there will be two locomotives at the front and rear side of the train, it will run faster and, like Vande Bharat, it does not require to change the loco position for the return journey as the train has locos at both sides.
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