ICF Chennai to flag off Rajdhani Express’ replacement this year
PERAMBUR: The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here on Tuesday celebrated a major milestone by rolling out its 60,000th rail coach — a feat that took the ‘jewel’ of Indian Railways 67 years to achieve since its inception in 1952.
“In 2018-19, the ICF produced 3,262 coaches, thus making it the world’s largest rail coach-manufacturing unit,” said Rajesh Agrawal, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, on a visit to ICF. It is a proud moment for ICF and for the entire nation, he added.
“In the current year, we expect the ICF to cross manufacturing nearly 4,000 coaches. The growth is exponential. It is only a matter of time that the ICF breaks its own records,” he told newspersons.
Vande Bharat (code named Train 18), a semi-high speed intercity electric train, was flagged off early this year from the ICF. With the entry of Vande Bharat, the Railways has entered the semi-high-speed era with speeds of 160-200 kmph, Agrawal said. It has been such a success that despite many Shatabdi trains running from Delhi, Vande Bharat trains have been running full ever since they commenced operation, he claimed.
While Vande Bharat is to replace the Shatabdi Express, the ICF this year will come out with Train 19 to replace the Rajdhani Express, Agrawal said. All three manufacturing units of the Railways — ICF in Chennai, Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and Modern Coach Factory at Raebareli — will together produce around 7,500 coaches this year. A sum of around ₹2,500 crore will be required for these manufacturing units this year. For ICF, an investment of ₹500 crore has already been accorded in principle, he said.
Vande Bharat currently runs between Delhi and Varanasi. Factors such as congestion and replacement of existing trains need to be considered before introducing it in other sectors, Agrawal said.
Agrawal said the new rail coach factory at Latur in Marathwada region of Maharashtra will start rolling out coaches this financial year.
To a query whether the ICF will start manufacturing modern standard gauge metro coaches, Agrawal said the ICF has the capability but the order should come from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. “We are in discussions with them on this.”