On July 7th, The Hindu newspaper published a sensational news claiming that the production of Vande Bharat Express train has come to a grinding halt. The news claimed the production of Train 18 has stopped at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai due to violation of some specifications, and it has been sent back to the drawing board. It also said that vigilance officials have taken away hundreds of files relating to the production of Train 18 from ICF, as it is alleged that the train has dozens of deviations from the specifications prescribed by Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO). This news by The Hindu was later reproduced by other media houses like Firstpost.
But according to sources in Railway ministry, there is no truth in the news that work on making the train has stopped, and the production of Vande Bharat train sets is right on track. Indian Railways is planning to produce 40 rakes in the next 3 years by 2021-22 and work is going on full fledge to achieve it. Officials say that Indian Railways is also planning to upgrade the Vande Bharat train sets with more advanced state-of-the-art features.
Indian Railways has already made several changes in the second rake of Vande Bharat Express as per the suggestions received from the passengers. The toilet facility is markedly improved and additional pantry space has been provided on the suggestion of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), said the sources. Cattle guard has also been strengthened to reduce damage due to cattle being run over. Even window glasses have also changed to prevent it from stone-pelting instances.
The first rake of Train 18 was inaugurated in February this year and it is running between Delhi and Varanasi. The next Vande Bharat is likely to run between New Delhi and Katra which will be a boon for Vaishno Devi pilgrims. Bangalore-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Kolkata-Patna are also identified as possible routes for Vande Bharat Express.
In fact, the trial for the second rake of the train was successfully completed just 4 days ago on 4th July on the Delhi-Kanpur route. This train has many improvements over the first rake, like a more sturdy nose, adjustable seats, improved facilities in the washroom etc. The second rake was sent to Delhi from Chennai in May this year, and extensive operational tests were done on it before conducting the trial run this month.
Indian Railways showed a glimpse of its futuristic vision by introducing Vande Bharat Express, the semi-high speed train. It has been running on full occupancy since its launch, creating punctuality records and providing the passengers with much better travel experience by its modern design and state-of-the-art amenities.
In May 2019, this marvel of Indian Railways successfully completed its one lakh kilometre run time without missing a single trip. It is speculated that this train has also attracted passengers who earlier avoided travelling by trains.
All of this was possible because of its state-of-the-art technology used in its making and advanced features with international look and feel. The main objectives of this train were low cost, safety and high speed. All these objectives were kept in mind while finalising the specifications and technology for making of the Vande Bharat train sets. Therefore, Indian Railways has tried to develop a successful independent design having common specifications which will allow all interested companies to be a part of the transparent tendering process for the production of Vande Bharat train sets.