New Delhi: In a major infrastructure and technology revamp, Indian railways intends to add several Aluminium coaches by February next year. Madras Coach Factory (MCF), Raebareli, is already looking to manufacture Aluminium coaches for the trains.
The first set will consist of three Aluminium coaches. By February 2022, these will be hinged to Kolkata Metro. To accomplish this feat, MCF signed a deal worth Rs 128 crore with Dawonsys. However, manufacturing was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent TOI report.
According to the report, the coaches will be designed and manufactured in South Korea and exported to India for assembly. The metro coaches’ design will likely be finalized by the end of this month.
The report quotes a railway official as saying, ‘The South Korean firm will share the designs and once MCF approves they will be made in South Korea and brought in India in knocked down condition.’ To begin with, ‘Dawonsys will manufacture these coaches in South Korea and slowly the transfer of technology will take place to MCF,’ the official added.
As part of the deal, the two companies agreed to provide five AC-3 Tier Sleeper, two AC-2 Tier Sleeper, one AC-1 Sleeper, one AC Hot Buffet Car, and one AC DSLR with Guard Cabin. Moreover, the South Korean firm will also provide designs for self-propelled coaches with a top speed of 225kmph, as well as broad-gauge locomotive-hauled sleeper coaches.
Railway coaches are currently made of stainless steel. Designing self-propelled Aluminium coaches with speeds of up to 225 kmph will enable MCF to manufacture Shatabdi-style Aluminium coaches. Indian Railways will be able to run superior trains with these coaches, which is in line with its goal of connecting major cities by chair car train.
Why are Aluminium coaches better?
– The coaches made from Aluminium are corrosion-resistant, which means they will have a longer life of 40 years.
– Compared to stainless steel coaches, these coaches are lighter, resulting in better fuel efficiency and lower haulage costs.
– By being lighter, the train will also move faster, reducing travel times and increasing average speeds.
– The interiors of Aluminium coaches will be modular with removable components for easy maintenance and retrofit.
– The life cycle cost will be low with reduced wear and tear of components.
– The hollow extrusion design of the coach has excellent crashworthiness, which means that if something goes wrong, there will be fewer injuries.
– Making Aluminium coaches takes less time than making stainless steel coaches.
– Railway Board approved the deal of making 500 Aluminium coaches that will surpass the quality of Shatabdi and Rajdhani coaches in terms of interior, exterior, safety, and comfort.
Railways had awarded the Korean company a Transfer of Technology (ToT) contract last year for the development of capabilities for the production and commissioning of Aluminium-bodied coaches. The Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli has awarded the ToT to acquire the capability to manufacture world-class Aluminium coaches.
ToT includes development (prototyping), designing, manufacturing, and testing of Aluminium body passenger coaches. Five of the eight variants are broad gauge loco-hauled coaches, and three are standard gauge metro coaches. The Aluminium-bodied coaches are likely to reach speeds of up to 250 kmph – in line with Indian Railways’ dream of semi-high-speed train travel.