The Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Rae Bareily would start making aluminium coaches that are lighter, durable and better corrosion resistant for the first time in India. Lighter aluminium coaches will increase energy efficiency and help achieve higher speeds while lasting longer than the current LinkeHofmann Busch (LHB) coaches.
Aluminium coaches were earlier used by metro rail in Urban India, now they are to feature in Indian Railways as a part of the railway modernaisation drive.
Hindustan Times reports the railway officials saying the Railway Board is set to approve MCF’s project report for manufacturing the aluminium carriages. But then the technology should be bought from Japan or Europe and a global tender would be floated once the MCF gets a nod.
“Since Indian Railway does not have the technology to manufacture these coaches, we will first have to bring it in. It will cost around Rs 150 crore. In the second phase, when the proposal is to manufacture 500 coaches per annum, additional ~62 crore will be required,” Hindusthan Times quoted a railway official saying.
Aluminium coaches had been in use for past 15 years in Europe and Japan, and a railway delegation had recommended the adoption of the same in India this year.
The rate of return for this project is 25-30 per cent. He added any railway project is considered commercially viable if the rate in above 15 per cent. When the maintenance and manufacturing costs are lesser, the rate of return is higher, a railway official was quoted saying.
“Many countries have adopted aluminium coaches as they are rusting free, can last longer; their cost of maintenance is also less. This is the right time to go for aluminium coaches,” said former Railway Board Chairman R K Singh.