'Missed target': Railways' plan of running 75 Vande Bharat trains by Aug 2024 likely to be affected

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Vande Bharat train | Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi: Railways' premier production unit, the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, failed to deliver even one Vande Bharat train in 2022-23 against a projected target of 32, documents have revealed, with the unit blaming its suppliers for not providing electrical components for the train sets.

The failure of the factory to achieve its targets, sources indicated, could affect the Railways' ambitious plans of running 75 Vande Bharat trains by August 2024.

The coach factory did not just fall short of its target to produce Vande Bharat trains, but also in the overall the production of all kinds of coaches.

The factory saw a major shortfall in production at the end of FY 2022-23, having manufactured 1,478 coaches against a target of 1,885, according to a document accessed by PTI.

The factory could manufacture only 153 3HP MEMU trains till March 2023, against a target of 256, and also fell short of its target for LHB coaches, manufacturing 1,325 of it against the goal of 1,520.

Officials said the production of Vande Bharat trains in the factory is likely to begin by September 2024.

This year, the Railway Board has given RCF Kapurthala a target of 64 Vande Bharat Express trains.

A senior ministry official said the RCF has not yet completed the process of approving the design sent by French multinational rolling stock manufacturer, Alstom, for Vande Bharat trains.

Out of 92 designs, only four have been approved, a delay that precludes any possibility of start of production of the semi-high speed trains in the current financial year.

The rail factory has however put forth a series of reasons explaining why the production of various coaches and variants have been delayed.

According to the document, it said its production rate was affected by a spike in prices of raw materials which led to short fall in supply of trade items such as seats-berth, 60 KVA transformer, switch board cabinet, and shell components/ sub assemblies.

"There was serious shortage of wheel supply from May to September 2022 leading to loss of production. Production of 87 coaches was lost on this account. The delay in supply of electrics by BHEL resulted in production loss of MEMU rakes. VB Trainset Coaches delayed as RCF did not get electrics from M/s Medha," the document said.

Desperate to lineup 75 trains by August 2024, the Railways has put into service every factory at its disposal -- not just the RCF, but even Modern Coach Factory, Rae Bareilly, Latur Rail Coach Factory and BHEL. PT

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