The trains with AC sleeper facilities will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 26,000 crore.
Fulfilling the budget commitments, Indian Railways has floated tenders inviting major rolling stock players for manufacturing 200 Vande Bharat trains with AC sleeper facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 26,000 crore.
Currently, two indigenised semi-high speed Vande Bharat trainsets are operational while the railways had awarded contracts for 102 Vande Bharat trains with seating capacity.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the budget that in order to provide better comfort and passenger amenities, the railways would acquire 400 more Vande Bharat trains with upgraded facilities.
After finalising the tender documents which include design, manufacturing-cum-maintenance clauses of the AC sleeper trains, the railways floated the tenders for manufacturing with AC sleeper 200 Vande Bharat trains with AC sleeper facilities.
While it is estimated to cost Rs 130 crore per rake with 16 coaches, the interested bidder has to deposit Rs 20 crore as earnest money for participating in the bid.
The successful bidder has to maintain the train all the time after manufacturing as there is a clause for lifelong maintenance, comprehensive annual maintenance contract.
The new generation train with modern facilities would be manufactured at Marathwada Rail Coach Factory at Latur or Integral Coach Factory at Chennai which include operation and maintenance of the same to meet the requirement of manufacturing, testing, commissioning and supply of the trains and up-gradation of the available existing infrastructure/facilities.
According to the railways, for the Version-3 Vande Bharat Express, bidders would be given options for both aluminium and steel coaches. There would be AC-1, AC-2 and AC-3 classes in the upcoming 200 Vande Bharat service.
But even if the manufacturer opts for steel, it has to be of less weight from the earlier one as specifications are being designed for lighter weight bogie, transformer and motor etc, with the use of new technology.