More than six months after halting manufacturing, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Perambur, Chennai has floated tenders for the Vande Bharat Express train rakes.
Popularly known as Train-18, the Vande Bharat Express is the country’s first self-propelled train set for long distance travel. According to a report in Times of India, the production of the rakes were suspended around six months ago over allegations of unfair practices.
On Sunday, the ICF floated new tenders for the procurement of electrical items and other components for 44 Train-18 rakes. The new tender is for the procurement of three-phase electrical propulsion system with other items suitable to run the train at a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
According to the tender advertisement, bids can be submitted till 2.15 pm on March 24, 2020 and a pre-bid conference will be held on January 23, 2020. The Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) to be paid by the bidders is designated at Rs 1 crore. As per the news report, the new train rakes will be manufactured to suit day travel with chair cars along with other fittings like doors with retractable footsteps and automatic interconnection doors.
The Railway Board held a meeting on December 4 in which it was decided to manufacture 45 rakes of Vande Bharat Express by 2021-22. Based on the meeting, the Board, on December 14, had directed the ICF to issue a new tender for procuring propulsion systems for manufacturing 45 rakes of Vande Bharat Express.
The ICF had, so far, produced two rakes of the train which are currently operational on the Delhi-Varanasi and Delhi-Katra routes, before the production was suspended.
The ICF had, in April 2017, announced that the government of India had sanctioned Rs 2,700 crore for manufacturing 13 high speed train sets, known as ‘Train-18’. In February 2019, the first rake from ICF started commercial operations between Delhi and Varanasi after it was manufactured by ICF in a record time of 18 months. In May, Vigilance Directorate of Railway Board intervened after allegations that one company had been favoured in the making of the train set. The design of the train was also found to be in violation of certain specifications, reported The Hindu. Manufacturing was then stopped in June.