Vande Bharat Metro will debut for intercity travel later this year

The Railways would invest ₹50,000 crore in manufacturing units over the next few years to meet orders for over 400 trains.
Vande Bharat Metro will debut for intercity travel later this year

The first of India's Vande Bharat metro trains will be delivered later this year from Indian Railways' Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory, according to two people familiar with the plans, with the train's prototype ready for trials. The 12-coach trains, which may be expanded to 16 if necessary, will service India's rapidly developing intercity and suburban routes. 50 such trains are scheduled to be introduced within two years following the prototype's approval, according to the persons listed above, on the condition of anonymity. The made-in-India trains will propel India into a select worldwide club of metro train rolling stock manufacturers, which is controlled by Europe, South Korea, China, and Canada.

Global train manufacturers currently supply metro coaches in several Indian cities, with some building coaches and train sets in the nation, including through technology transfer agreements. The Railways would invest ₹50,000 crore in manufacturing units over the next few years to fulfill orders for over 400 trains. Domestic manufacture may reduce the cost of a 12-coach metro train by one-fourth, making it one of the cheapest metro systems globally. These trains are first being built for domestic use, connecting about 125 cities over modest distances of 100-250 km.

The first batch of trains would connect 12 significant towns, including Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Mathura, Varanasi, Tirupati, and Chennai. "Export options would be explored later based on availability," stated the first individual quoted. A query submitted to the railway ministry was unanswered as of press time. According to Saurabh Agarwal, a partner with EY Investment Growth Group, achieving self-reliance requires a multi-pronged approach. "Localization would have a cascade effect, creating more jobs, encouraging greater investment in R&D, and eventually lessening reliance on imports. All of these aspects are critical to India's self-sufficiency," he remarked.

The 12-coach trains can be extended to 16 depending on demand. The carriages will be outfitted with all of the modern facilities found on Vande Bharat trains today. It will have a maximum speed of 120-160 km/h, the same as the current chair car version of Vande Bharat semi-high-speed trains, but with faster acceleration needed for inter-city trains with more stops. It will serve the general population of passengers and everyday commuters, with an entirely unreserved configuration. Vande Bharat Metro will be the third of a series of trains envisioned under the Make in India banner. Prime Minister Narendra Modi previously declared that three versions of Vande Bharat semi-high-speed trains would be introduced to transform Indian rail travel.

The first Vande Bharat chair car version was released on February 15, 2019. According to railway data, 51 Vande Bharat trains (102 Vande Bharat train services) operate on 100 different routes, covering 284 districts throughout 24 states and union territories. The second chair car version of the Vande Bharat train, as well as metro versions, are expected to be released later this year.