Consortia of Alstom, Siemens and Stadler Bussnang eye Rs.2000 Crore Electric Rail Coach Factory project in WB

The government will own 26% in the joint venture. The final bidding will take place in December 2017

NEW DELHI: Three consortia led by multinational transportation giants Alstom, Siemensand Stadler Bussnang AG are in the race to set up an electric rail coach factory in West Bengal. 

The proposed rail coach factory that would produce coaches with aircraft-type interiors is expected to come up on railway land in Kanchrapara near Kolkata on a public-private partnership basis and will involve a total investment of Rs 2,000 crore. 

This is the second-largest tranche of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the rail sector under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The first major FDI in railways came in 2015 when projects to set up two locomotive factories were awarded at a total cost of Rs 3,300 crore. 

The three consortia – Siemens-Bombardier Transportation, CRRC Corporation of China-Alstom Transport and Stadler Bussang AG (Switzerland)-Medha Servo Drives – have already been shortlisted by the Indian Railways, a top railway official said. 

The government will own 26% in the joint venture. The final bidding will take place in December, the official said. 

The selected bidder would be required to manufacture and supply train sets comprising of nearly 5,000 electric rail cars over a period of 12 years and undertake their maintenance for another 13 years. 

The trains, fully made of stainless steel, would have automatic door closing facilities, CCTV cameras and LED lighting. 

“These trains would have a new generation propulsion system that would regenerate almost 40% of the power leading to savings in energy bills,” the official said. “Seating arrangements of the coaches that would be fully air-conditioned would be modified to increase passenger carrying capacity.” 

According to the railways, the factory would produce rolling stock worth Rs 50,000 crore in 12 years and would help railways save almost Rs 10,000 crore, compared to the imported value of these coaches. 

The project is part of the modernisation drive of Indian Railways.The modernisation of the railways brooks no delay. A revamped transport network would better deliver the goods going forward, as India picks up economic speed and the demand for logistics grows. In tandem, we need a change of track on populist rail tariffs. Passenger fares need to be reasonable, to cover costs and payback. And the railways’ social obligations need to be paid for by the three tiers of government. It would require transparency in rail accounting and reporting, as in any commercial setup.

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