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Vande Bharat Express: Indian Railways extends deadline for bids for 58 train sets


Indian Railways has extended the deadline for a fresh tender that was floated for 58 Vande Bharat train sets. The deadline for bid submission for key systems of the Vande Bharat trains has been extended to November 22. Railways is hoping to roll out 75 Vande Bharat Express trains by August 2023 and over 100 by March 2024. A railway official told TOI that the deadline has been extended since some of the stakeholders have asked for more time to understand the project requirements. The earlier date for bid submission was October 20. Indian Railways has already awarded the tender for propulsion systems and key systems of 44 Vande Bharat trains to Medha Servo in early 2021. Vande Bharat Express, also called Train 18 after the year of its production, is a self-propelled train set that doesn’t require a locomotive to haul it. Similar to bullet trains in terms of exterior looks, Vande Bharat can run at speeds of up to 160 kmph. The air-conditioned chair car train has features such as; European-style seats, 360 degree rotating seats in the Executive class, personalised reading lights, disabled-friendly toilet, GPS-based passenger information screens, mini pantry, automatic entry-exit doors, diffused LED lighting, fully sealed gangways for dust-free environment, modular bio-toilets, centrally controlled doors with sliding footsteps. Also Read | Indian Railways set to roll out full Economy AC-3 tier trains soonIn his Independence Day speech this year, PM Narendra Modi announced that 75 Vande Bharat trains will connect major cities by August 2023. At present the two Vande Bharat trains run between New Delhi and Varanasi and New Delhi and Katra in Jammu and Kashmir. The new Vande Bharat trains will have more comfortable seats with push-back feature for reclining, more emergency buttons, bacteria-free AC system, ventilation up to 3 hours in case of any power failure, emergency windows for evacuation, disaster lights, protection for the underslung equipment from vagaries of nature, centralised coach monitoring system etc. The first prototype rake of the upgraded Vande Bharat Express is expected to be rolled out by March 2022. It will undergo extensive testing for 1 lakh kilometres before the production plan for the remaining train sets is finalised. The first two Vande Bharat Express trains have been manufactured at ICF, Chennai. However, the new rakes will be manufactured at all three production units of railways; ICF, RCF and MCF.


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