It is close to impossible to imagine Mumbai without an image of people hanging onto the doors of its local trains. But that is likely to see a complete overhaul as the lifeline of India’s business capital will soon be replaced by a fully air-conditioned Vande Metro, a first-of-its-kind train service in India.
Last month, News18 had reported that Mumbai may be the first city to get these Vande Metro trains. Now, the ministry of railways has taken the first step in this direction as it floated the tender for the procurement-cum-lifetime maintenance of Vande Metro trains for Mumbai. While the design of the Vande Metro trains is yet to be revealed, it is expected to be the modified and luxurious version of the electric multiple unit (EMU) that will be fully air conditioned.
In May, the Railway Board approved the procurement of 238 rakes of the Vande Metro for Mumbai. Now, this week, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has invited online bids from international tenders for the procurement of 2,856 Vande Metro coaches for the city’s suburban network.
The trains will either have 12 or 15 coaches depending on the route and demand, a ministry official told News18. “At present, there are at least 250 local trains in Mumbai, of which around 240 are running regularly while the remaining are spare. The plan is to replace the entire fleet with Vande Metro. One local train takes around 12 to 15 trips per day. With the Vande Metro trains, travel experience and passenger comfort will increase to a great extent,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
According to the notification, the tender is not just for procurement and maintenance of these trains but also for setting up new depots and upgrading of existing facilities for Vande Metros. The new car sheds will come up at Vangaon and Bhivpuri.
According to the MRVC, bidding documents will be available online from July 4. The last date for submission of the bids will be September 29.
MUMBAI MAY HAVE TO WAIT FOR SOME MORE YEARS
While the process has started, Mumbai may have to wait a little as complete transformation may take a couple of years. The document reads that the stipulated completion period for supply of AC rakes along with setting up new carsheds at Vangaon and Bhivpuri will take 84 months or seven years. Further, a 420-month or 35-year period is for comprehensive annual maintenance of these rakes and maintenance depots.
The ministry official said even for the delivery of the first Vande Metro, it will take at least three to four years. “The replacement will be done in phases. As and when we will get the delivery, we will replace the trains. The local train network is divided into Western and Central Railway, these zones can pick the size of the trains they need for their sections,” the official added.
The bidding will be conducted through international open competitive tender using requests for bids prepared on the basis of Indian Railway standard conditions of contract, the document reads.
Source : News18