Modern railway coaches with aircraft-like interiors could soon be running on Indian tracks. Transportation giants Alstom, Siemens, and Stadler Bussnang
AG are each leading consortia that are competing to set up a Rs 20,000-crore facility to build these electric rail coaches in West Bengal on public-private partnership basis, reported the Economic Times
According to the financial daily, this would be the second-largest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country's rail transport sector.
The Indian Railways, according to the report, has already shortlisted the aforementioned three consortia — Siemens-Bombardier Transportation, CRRC Corporation of China-Alstom
Transport and Stadler Bussang AG (Switzerland)-Medha Servo Drives. Whichever consortium wins the final bidding in December this year will have to manufacture nearly 5,000 electric rail cars over a 12-year period and handle their maintenance for another 13 years.
The government, according to the report, will have a 26 per cent stake in the joint-venture project that is to come up at Kanchrapara near Kolkata.
According to agency reports that cited railway officials, the Kanchrapara facility will be set up on the lines of the Madhepura and Marhora locomotive factories in Bihar. The factory will also be allowed to export its coaches after meeting the Railways' requirement.
All you need to know about the new coaches
Providing amenities more familiar to air travellers seems to be a focus area for the railways. In May this year, the luxury Tejas Express, with ultra-modern amenities, made its maiden journey between Mumbai and Goa. The train had coaches equipped with automatic doors, Wi-Fi, and LCD screens. Further, passengers could avail of facilities such as tea and coffee vending machines, magazines, and snacks tables. (Read more
Keeping in line with the shift towards passenger comfort and amenities, the new stainless steel AC and non-AC coaches, according to agency reports
from last year, will be equipped with automatic doors, forced ventilation system, bio-toilets, and a regenerative braking system that saves power.
According to the reports, the coaches slated to be built at the West Bengal facility are known as Electric Multiple Unit and Mainline Electric Multiple Units. The new coaches, the report added, will run without a traditional locomotive and will be used for faster local as well as mainline train service.
Alstom is betting big on Make in India
As reported in June this year, French mobility equipment manufacturer Alstom
expects the first phase of its Rs 20,000-crore electric locomotive manufacturing facility, which will manufacture 800 super high-power locomotives, in Madhepura, Bihar, to be ready by September this year
"The factory is under construction and phase one is expected to be ready by September of the current year. We should be rolling out the first locomotive from the plant by early next year," said Bharat Salhotra, managing director for transport operations at Alstom
in India and South Asia. The first train will be put through a rigorous test for thousands of kilometres and the second and third locomotives will also be prototypes, which will undergo a lot of tests. The facility is being set up under a joint-venture between Alstom
and Indian Railway.