In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative, the Indian railways have fast-tracked implementation of the Rs 500 crore deal for the acquisition and Transfer of Technology (ToT) of the next-generation Amstead bogies from the US firm ASF Keystone.
These bogies — which will replace the BOXN and BLC wagons — carry approximately 10% more freight and can accelerate the speed of goods trains from the existing 60 kilometers per hour to 110 kmph. “The new technology can transform rail freight transportation in India,” sources said.
Due to political uncertainty during UPA 2 when seven different ministers held charge of railways, the deal was in cold storage.
“Given its potential to ramp up freight earnings on existing tracks, the NDA government has decided to push for fast execution of the project. Bulk supply of the Amstead bogies is likely to begin next year,” sources said.
As part of its commitment of the total supply of 4,000 bogies, the US firm will send the first lot of 240 bogies in 2016 for conducting the field trials in India. It will also assist the Indian railways to set up a manufacturing facility. It will also provide technical assistance for the setting up three other manufacturing facilities that domestic companies licensed by the Indian railways can set up.
Of its total inventory of 2.5 lakh wagons, the Indian railways have approximately 60,000 BOXN type wagons and about 15,000 BLC type container wagons. “The Amstead deal offers an opportunity for India to emerge as the export hub for the manufacture of international-class freight wagons,” sources said.