Upgraded Vande Bharat trains with new features to be ready by 2022

Published on Aug 20, 2021 08:45 PM IST
The coaches will also have a Centralized Coach Monitoring System for all electrical, climate control and functioning of other vital systems of the train.
PM Narendra Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express at New Delhi Railway Station on February 15, 2019. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
PM Narendra Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express at New Delhi Railway Station on February 15, 2019. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
ByAnisha Dutta

The next lot of Vande Bharat trains. with upgraded amenities, upgraded seating, security and surveillance systems and features designed for emergencies, is expected to be commercially available from June 2022 onward, officials aware of the development informed HT.

“The first prototype rake is tentatively planned to be dispatched in March 2022 which will be put for commercial service tentatively by June 2022,” a senior official said.

The new passenger amenities/safety features planned to be added, in addition to existing features available in the present Vande Bharat Express, include four emergency windows for easy evacuation of passengers in case of emergency; disaster lights in all coaches that will be used in the event of failure of all other lights in a disaster situation; emergency push buttons increased to four per coach.

The coaches will also have a Centralized Coach Monitoring System for all electrical, climate control and functioning of other vital systems of the train.

An important upgrade in the new coaches will also include push back arrangement for reclining of seats. In the first two rakes of the Vande Bharat trains, issues regarding the seating comfort level had been raised.

The new trains will have fire survival cables in door circuits.

The coaches will also have the availability of ventilation for three hours in case of failure of power supply to roof-mounted AC package unit.

“It will also have better availability, more reliable and bacteria-free air conditioning system and a higher flood protection of underframe equipment to ensure reliability during monsoons,” the official quoted above said.

This comes following PM Narendra Modi’s announcement on Independence Day for rolling out 75 new Vande Bharat Express trains that will be launched to connect different parts of the country in 75 weeks to mark the ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.’

The Indian Railways in September last year floated a revised tender for procuring 44 semi-high speed 44 Vande Bharat trains mandating 75% domestic component making it a domestic tender. The government had earlier scrapped three global tenders for the ambitious project.

Hyderabad-based engineering firm Medha, which in February secured the contract to supply the electrical systems for 44 Vande Bharat trains, has now been told to advance its production plan so that at least two prototypes can be rolled out by next March following all trials.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the maiden run of a Vande Bharat train on the New Delhi-Varanasi route on February 15, 2019. The second such train service between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by home minister Amit Shah on October 3, 2019.

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