Indian Railways will soon be introducing 15 aluminium-bodied trainsets to certain routes by the end of this decade according to a source who spoke with domestic media.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the trainsets, which are part of a program dubbed Train-20 and will be similar to self-propelled electric multiple units (EMU), are to travel at a speed of 100 mph and feature automatic door systems.
“A global tender has been floated inviting bids from leading international coach manufacturers for design, development, manufacturing, testing and commissioning of aluminium car body trainsets. Bids are expected to be opened next year for necessary action.”
Indian Railways plans to purchase 15 of these lightweight and energy-efficient trainsets at a cost of US$390 million. Each trainset will consist of 20 cars, and the sets will feature both seating and sleeping coaches.
In addition to speed and efficiency, plans for the trains include amenities like on-board WiFi, infotainment applications, and GPS passenger tracking systems for providing travel status info to commuters. Coaches will also be fitted out with plush interiors and state-of-the-art LED lighting, and restroom facilities will have touch-free plumbing with zero discharge vacuum-based bio-toilets.
Should the first 15 sets be successful, an option for an additional 10 sets will be exercised. Though the first sets will likely be assembled at the manufacturer’s plant, the terms of the deal will see subsequent sets assembled at Railways’ Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) near Chennai.
The Train-20 program will build upon the predecessor Train-18 program, explained the source. However, the Train-18 program is using stainless steel railstock on certain day-only Shatabdi routes. The Train-20 program features more trains and is intended to operate the trains built under the program on important overnight Rajdhani routes, which are considered to be more prestigious.