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More Vande Bharat Express trains soon! Indian Railways readies new tender guidelines for semi-high speed train

Devanjana Nag

Vande Bharat Express defines the changing aspirations of people in India, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day 2019 speech from Red Fort. However, even as the Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express continues to register high occupancy, the production of Train 18 has come to a halt. This is due to a change in tender processes by Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry. At present, Indian Railways is gearing up for the launch of second Vande Bharat Express, meanwhile, the process to bring in the next batches of the Train 18 trainsets has gone through a shift, according to an IE report.

Instead of procuring the next batch of Vande Bharat Express trainsets the same way as the first two trainsets, Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has decided to go for standardizing the components that go into making the product. According to the report, after meeting vendors as well as other industry players, the Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) is preparing standards and specifications of the subsequent trainsets that are to be manufactured under Modi government’s ambitious Make in India programme.

A senior ministry official was quoted in the report saying that once this process is complete, the tender will be floated, following which industry can participate as per the specifications laid out for the new Vande Bharat Express trainsets. He also said that it is being ensured that the specifications do not end up favouring any one particular vendor.

In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi said that the citizens of India are no longer content with just a railway station or line. The thinking of the public has changed. Earlier, they were happy with merely an idea to set up a station, but now they ask- when will Vande Bharat Express come to my area, the minister said. People of the country do not want only good railway stations or bus stands. Now, they ask when is a good airport coming, Modi added.

The second Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 is likely to run between Delhi and Katra. The train is expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities to just eight hours as against the current 12 hours.