Germany’s Alstom and Hyderabad-based Medha Servo Drives have been shortlisted as technically qualified bidders for building and maintaining 100 aluminium body Vande Bharat trains. Bids for these trains were called in July last year and were to open on February 15. But the closing bid date was extended till Thursday as bidder response remained tepid.
“Despite the extension, only two bids came. The total tender value is estimated at around ₹30,000 crore when taking into account the maintenance of the trains,” a senior official told ET.
If selected, this will be the first time that Alstom will make and supply locomotives as per the indigenously-developed Vande Bharat designs to the Indian Railways. Medha has more experience with Vande Bharat trains and had also supplied the propulsion system for the first such train. In January 2021, Medha Servo Drives was awarded the tender for 44 Vande Bharat train sets by the Indian Railways.
Under such tenders, the trains are usually delivered over 3-5 years while their maintenance is undertaken by the supplier for 35 years. The Indian Railways offers land at its manufacturing units and maintenance depots to the private concessionaire for developing modern infrastructure.
The aluminium trains will be lighter and more energy efficient than the stainless steel body Vande trains. “It is also expected that these 100 trains will be more aesthetic but not too costly due to economies of scale,” said Sudhanshu Mani, retired general manager of Integral Coach Factory, Indian Railways, who is widely known as the creator of Vande Bharat trains.
“It’s good that two competent manufacturers have quoted and one of them will get the order; this will bring in a new era of passenger travel in India,” Mani added.
The stainless steel body Vande Bharat trains are estimated to cost around ₹115 crore per trainset. Cost of aluminium body trains is expected to be higher.