New Delhi: Global giants such as Bombardier, Hyundai-ROTEM, TALGO and CAF have queued up to manufacture semi high-speed train sets in India, which will be used for faster inter-city travel.
“Four multinationals have evinced interest to manufacture modern train sets in India. The successful bidder will first import two train sets and then rest would be manufactured in the country,” a senior railway board official told.
Introduction of the much awaited train sets was announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his Rail Budget 2015-16. The cost of the project is pegged at around Rs 2,500 crore for 15 train sets. If successful, more such train sets would be ordered. Train sets are identical to Bullet trains where coaches are self-propelled and not pulled by locomotive. As a result, power is equally distributed across the system bringing down travel time substantially. However, unlike Bullet trains, these will not require dedicated tracks. These swanky trains will ply on all Rajdhani and Shatabdi routes. As per the Request for Proposal for the project, while 275 coaches will be manufactured in India, 40 would be imported.
The Request for Qualification (RFQ) was floated in May for the global manufacturers to participate in the bidding process. Bids will be opened in August for shortlisting the qualified bidders. The RFQ will be followed by financial bids and the successful bidder will be awarded the contract by December.
Two potential bidders — CAF and TALGO — are from Spain, while Bombardier is from Canada. Indian Railways has proposed to increase the speed of nine railway corridors from the existing 110 and 130 km per hour to 160 and 200 km per hour respectively so that inter-metro journeys on the Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai routes, for instance, can be completed overnight. After the Narendra Modiled NDA government came to power, railways have been aggressively eyeing private investment in the sector, and the government has already cleared 100% FDI in railways infrastructure. Railways is also in process to bid out the two locomotive factories in Bihar.
Four global firms – Alstom, Siemens, GE and Bombardier – have been shortlisted for the proposed electric locomotive factory at Madhepura. Two multinationals, GE and EMD, are vying to bag the diesel locomotive plant at Marhorah. The estimated cost of the loco factories is about Rs 1,200 crore each. The projects are expected to be awarded by the end of this year.