Railways Gear Up For Mass Production Of Axles And Wheels For Wagons And LHB Coaches


Railways is planning to procure about 90,000 wagons and 400 Vande Bharat trains in the next three years, besides about 7,000 LHB coaches in the current fiscal.


With increased order for the manufacturing of coaches and wagons in the current fiscal, Indian Railways has geared up to meet the demand of wheels and axles from the domestic market besides seeking quick supply from China.

While a Hongkong-based company with Chinese link has been awarded the contract for supplying 30,000 axles for wagons, the Railways had also asked the Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Midhani) to manufacture 400 LHB axles at an estimated cost of Rs 31,565,100.

SAIL’s Durgapur steel plant (DSP) has also been asked to produce as many wheels for coaches and locomotives.

DSP’s Wheel and Axle Plant, which has been making wheels for railway coaches, took up the challenge and managed to successfully develop LHB coach wheels as per the Railways’ stringent norms and standards.

These were found to have zero rejections in Ultrasonic Testing and the wheels were also of excellent quality, said Railway Ministry sources.

Besides DSP’s Wheel and Axle Plant, the Railways has roped in the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, a subsidiary of the Steel Ministry, to manufacture forged wheels for LHB coaches and also for semi-high speed trains like Vande Bharat Express.

The state-owned RINL at Rae Bareli has already manufactured around 854 wheels for locomotives this year and steps are being taken to produce LHB wheels also.

According to the Railways, the prototype of the LHB wheel is being developed at the factory of the Steel Ministry. The prototype would undergo a test by the RDSO before being allowed for mass production.

Since the design and size are different for the LHB coaches, there is a need for RDSO approval, said Railways.

Keeping the increased order of rolling stock in mind, the Railways is also exploring the private sector for manufacture of wheels and axles. Some private companies have also been told to explore the wheel market in line with the Make-in India initiative.

The capacity of the Bangalore wheel plant has also been enhanced to meet the growing demand of axles and wheels. However, the Railways is now concentrating on Vande Bharat trains and these units did not have the capacity to manufacture so many in the given time frame.

According to the Railways, the move is aimed at ensuring that 2.5 lakh wheels for the 400 Vande Bharat Express trains, to be produced over the next three years.

Since the contract has been awarded to the private players for Vande Bharat trains, it is upto them to arrange wheels and axles.

Recently, 128 wheels needed for the trials of Vande Bharat train were airlifted from Romania to Chennai and then sent to Hyderabad. The Railways had earlier awarded a tender to TZ for the supply of wheels.

Durgapur Steel Plant has already produced 45,000 forged wheels for the Railways’ LHB coaches and will now use the approved design to manufacture the wheels of the Vande Bharat Express trains.

Railways is planning to procure about 90,000 wagons and 400 Vande Bharat trains in the next three years, besides about 7,000 LHB coaches in the current fiscal.