After securing the transportation of 128 Vande Bharat wheels from war-hit Ukraine through Romania, efforts are being made to manufacture the high speed forged wheels in India.
Though earlier both wheels and axles were to be imported for Vande Bharat, now it has been decided that axles would be made at Bengaluru wheel factory.
In fact, 64 axles for the 16-coach Vande Bharat train have already been made at Bengaluru, said a senior Railway Ministry official and added another batch of 64 axles for the second Vande Bharat train is also being made at the Railway Wheel Factory (RWF).
Since the Ukraine war has disrupted the import schedule, domestic production of axles would definitely help the manufacturer to speed up rolling out the trainset.
The first batch of 128 wheels, out of a cumulative order for 36,000 at a cost of $16 million, are expected to be airlifted to India by this month.
With the war halting manufacturing in Ukraine, the Railway Wheel Factory in Yelahanka in Bengaluru has now prioritised manufacturing these axles for two Vande Bharat rakes.
The first prototype of Vande Bharat Version 2 is expected to roll out in July and would be put on trial for two months.
Indian Railways has recently floated tenders for the manufacture of 200 Vande Bharat trains with Sleeper facilities, as till now the order has been placed for manufacture of 102 Vande Bharat trains with seating arrangements only.
The next generation Vande Bharat trains with seating arrangements will replace Shatabdi and Intercity services, while the latest version of Vande Bharat with Sleeper facilities would be replacing Rajdhani and Duronto services.
In the Union Budget for 2022-2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed that 400 new Vande Bharat trains be developed and manufactured over the next three years. The target is to roll out 75 such trains by 15 August 2023, according to a timeline announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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