Indian Railways all set to get ‘Make in India’ high-speed rails! The state-run steel manufacturing firm SAIL or Steel Authority of India Limited is planning to start manufacturing special quality rails for the high-speed train corridors and metro projects in the next two years. An official quoted in a recent PTI report said that the organisation could start manufacturing special rails at its Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) in Chhattisgarh as well as the IISCO Steel Plant at Burnpur situated in West Bengal. Anirban Dasgupta, CEO, SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant was quoted in the report saying that they expect to commence head-hardened rail project in the next two years. However, the project is now in the planning stage and the capacity, as well as project investments, have not been finalized as yet.
The special quality rails which are being manufactured by SAIL hold significance to the Indian Railways network as the speciality product has more strength than the normal rails and will be utilized for metro rail projects and high speed train corridors. Dasgupta explained that the feasibility studies will be carried out at the BSP and Burnpur steel plants as only one facility's set-up will not be enough for SAIL, given the existing demands of the projects. The rail project would also help for substituting imports.
According to Dasgupta, SAIL is in the process of hiring a consultant in order to carry out the feasibility studies. According to reports, the Indian Railways’ track modernisation programme will need at least one million tonnes of the head-hardened rails in the next four-five years. The new metro rail projects across the country alone will stimulate the demand for at least 500,000 tonnes of the special quality rails in the next couple of years. The capacity of the Bhilai steel plant has been increased, for producing two million tonnes of normal rails from 0.8 million tonnes per annum after the modernisation process. In the year 2019 -2020, the steel plant facility is expected to produce 1.3 million tonnes.