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Argentina, Chile highly interested in India’s semi-high speed Vande Bharat Trains : RITES CMD Rahul Mithal

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NEW DELHI : Within five years of its inception, India’s first semi high-speed train Vande Bharat Express has revolutionised rail travel in the country. The first-of-its-kind ‘engine-less’ train, which runs on distributed traction, has not only happy passengers but also admirers on a global level.

Now ushering in the new era of railway exports, Vande Bharat Express may soon hit the tracks of South American nations who are ‘very much interested’ and are presently in talks with India over a possible international trade of the train.

RITES Ltd Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rahul Mithal informed,” We targeted those countries which have electrified broad gauge railway systems. We picked South American countries like Chile and Argentina which require minimal customisation. We picked two to three Latin American countries and they are very much interested and find the product good.” 

Terming the development as an early trend, Mithal said that the progress is in the initial stages as when a country has been using particular types of rolling stock, the induction of one or two racks has challenges in terms of maintenance and training among others. CMD of the Indian Railways nodal export agency mentioned that he is sure in the coming months and years, this will turn in the right direction. 

India prepares Vande Bharat’s global foray 

The global appeal of Vande Bharat Express trains is set to soar higher as Union Railway Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw recently unveiled plans for their adaptation to international markets. He informed that the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai will shift its focus towards manufacturing standard gauge Vande Bharat trains tailored specifically for export purposes.

“If we have to export Vande Bharat rakes five years from now we have to start now the process of designing as the process of designing, testing, getting national and international approval and manufacturing is a lengthy process,” Vaishaw mentioned.

Notably, RITES has been playing its part by strengthening the Vande Bharat manufacturing capability by enabling inspection of various parts of the express train along with providing consultancy to manufacturers.

“We have recently been declared as an ISA company, which is a very important accreditation for an inspection firm,” Rahul Mithul said while adding that it will expand the horizon of products and parts inspection during manufacturing. 

Global tenders by first rail PSU 

Securing highly competitive global tenders, the company has recently clinched significant contracts in Mozambique and Bangladesh. RITES emerged victorious in Mozambique, bagging an order for 10 locomotives (engines) valued at Rs 300 crore. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, it stood out as the L1 bidder for the procurement of over 200 coaches in a Rs 850-900 crore project. 

Besides, the first rail PSU has expanded its footprints with major projects underway in Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Guayana, and Sri Lanka among others.

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