Eyeing a market of over $200 billion rolling stock and semi-high speed railway market, the Indian Railways is looking at utilising the opportunity to make an entry into unexplored markets. Interestingly, Peru, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and some countries in the Middle East have expressed interest in importing the Railways’ state-of-the-art Train 18.
According to the reports, a senior official said on Friday said that many countries have expressed interest in the ‘Train-18’, which is yet to get the government approval to conduct its first run between Delhi and Varanasi.
“Many countries have expressed interest in the train set and we are happy and proud that an indigenously made product is attracting so much interest. The rolling stock market worldwide is worth about 200 billion dollars and we want a significant share of it. Now, the aim is to successfully run the train,” said Member, Rolling Stock, Railway Board, Rajesh Agarwal.
Reportedly, the train set equivalent to Train-18 standards costs around Rs 250 crore worldwide compared to Rs 100 crore at which the Indian version manufactured by Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF) is priced at.
India is the newest entry into the semi-high speed club and is looking forward to pitching Train-18 as a mascot of India’s manufacturing capabilities while hosting the upcoming International High-Speed Rail Association (IHRA) conference in February.
“The production of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches increased from around 685 in 2014-2015 to 4,016 during the current year. The actual production up to December 2018 has touched 3,106 coaches with three more months to go. In fact, the total LHB production of the first 17 years has been exceeded in the last two years, which is unprecedented,” Agarwal said.
One of the projects they are eyeing is the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) project which is currently stalled because of pricing issues. Many companies from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe are believed to have expressed interest in the project. Indian Railways now wants to bid in this project as they believe that the project would be financially viable with a semi high-speed train.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly also asked the railways officials to make a presentation on the Train-18 before heads of all Indian missions so that they can popularise the train in countries where they are posted as a part of economic diplomacy push.
Train-18, the country’s first engine-less, self-propelled train for inter-city travel manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, under the ‘Make in India’ initiative is capable of running at a speed of up to 180 kmph. The Train-18 is all set to replace the Shatabdi Express that has been in the service of Indian Railways for the past 30 years.