Indian Railways launches upgraded Vande Bharat EMU | So Good News


INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an upgraded version of the Vande Bharat EMU on September 30 and announced that 75 of the trains will be operational by August 2023.

The Vande Bharat 2.0 offers several updated features over the previous version, including improved acceleration and a top speed of 180 km/h. The train is equipped with the locally developed Kavach signaling technology, which corresponds to ETCS Level 2. It is also lighter at 392 tonnes compared to 430 tonnes in the previous version. Electrical equipment is protected against flooding of up to 650 mm.

In addition, the train’s air conditioning is 15% more energy efficient, and with improved reclining seating, passenger comfort is improved. The train is equipped with passenger Wi-Fi, while a 32-inch screen in each coach provides passenger information and infotainment. The routes are also equipped with automatic plug doors, contactless sliding doors and emergency communication devices.

The new train will begin commercial operations on the Mumbai – Ahmedabad – Gandhinagar route at an average speed of 91 kmph, covering the distance of 491 km in 5 hrs 45 min. On the return journey, the train will clock an average speed of 87 km/h, offering a journey time of 5 hours and 45 minutes.

Two separate tenders for the production of 44 and 58 trains have already been awarded and they are being assembled by the Chennai-based state-owned Integral Coach Factory (ICF), the Amethi-based Modern Coach Factory (MCF) and the Kapurthala-based Rail Coach Factory ( RCF). A third tender for the production of 200 buses is scheduled to open on 10 October. Tenders are also in the works to produce dormant variants, with bids for 100 vehicles likely to begin towards the end of the year with procurement of a further 100 planned.

Two of the EMUs, built at ICF more than three years ago, are in service on the Delhi – Varanasi and Delhi – Katra routes. The Delhi – Varanasi Vande Bharat set operates at an average speed of 96 kmph.

Although the running time of Mumbai-Ahmedabad Vande Bharat will be about an hour less compared to the premier Shatabdi Express. which runs on the same route, experts are disappointed by the “modest speed” of the train.

“Huge expectations had been built up for Vande Bharat by comparing the train with the proposed high-speed line in terms of acceleration,” says former ICF chief Sudhanshu Mani, known as the innovator of the T-18 or Vande Bharat trains.

“The final timetable of 5h 45min is a disappointment as it barely exceeds the speed of the existing Tejas and Shatabdi trains, which run at an average speed of 86km/h. It was expected that Vande Bharat would cover the Ahmedabad – Mumbai distance in less than five hours, at an average speed of 100 kmph plus.”

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