Indian Railways is looking to completely upgrade its rolling stock manufacturing units to bring them up to world-standards, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav has said. The aim is to introduce a huge technological shift in production of rolling stock, so that more export-worthy, next-generation coaches can be manufactured. Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is hoping to upgrade its factories to manufacture 160 kmph speed capable coaches, aluminium-bodied metro coaches and even high-speed bullet train coaches with speeds of 350 kmph!
According to Yadav, while the production of rolling stock has gone up 30% between the period of April to August this year, it is not sufficient to meet the growing demand and also replace aging ICF coaches. "A quantum-jump is required and for that we will upgrade the rolling stock manufacturing units technologically," he said.
The national transporter is planning to bring all its production units under one 'corporate' entity. Financial Express Online had earlier reported the Railway Board's agenda to hive off its locomotive and rolling stock manufacturing units into a single entity called "Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company". The new government-owned entity will be under the Ministry of Railways.
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While interacting with reporters, the Railway Board Chairman sought to allay fears of the railway employees on the proposed move, stating that all stakeholders will be consulted and taken on-board before any final decision is taken. "We have not taken any final decision, everyone including railway employees will be consulted...but it's the way forward. China has done this successfully and its China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation exports to around 100 countries," Yadav said. "We believes a similar model can be implemented in India to great effect, allowing for modern technology both for the Indian Railways network and for export-oriented products," he added.
At present, Indian Railways has seven production units; Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Rae Bareli, Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala, Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) in West Bengal, Wheel & Axle Plant in Bangalore, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi and Diesel Modernization Works (DMW) in Patiala.
The Railway Board is of the view that with Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company, state-of-the-art technology will be provided and superior operational efficiency will result in better profits and economies of scale.