The Railways' premier production unit -- the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala -- has blamed its suppliers for failing to provide essential components which has delayed the production of Vande Bharat trains, an internal document from the factory has said. The coach factory did not just fall short of its target to produce Vande Bharat trains but also in the overall production of all kinds of coaches.
The factory saw a major shortfall in production at the end of FY 2022-23, having manufactured 1,478 coaches against a target of 1,885, according to the internal document accessed by PTI. The factory could manufacture only 153 3PH MEMU trains till March 2023 against a target of 256. It also fell short of its target for LHB coaches, manufacturing 1,325 of them against the goal of 1,520.
Officials said the production of Vande Bharat trains in the factory is likely to begin by September 2024. The Railway Board had given Rail Coach Factory (RFC), Kapurthala, a target of 64 Vande Bharat Express trains in 2023-24 fiscal. A senior ministry official said the RCF has not yet completed the process of approving the design sent by French multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom for Vande Bharat trains.
Out of 92 designs, only four have been approved, a delay that precludes any possibility of the start of production of the semi-high speed trains in the current financial year. The rail factory has however put forth a series of reasons explaining why the production of various coaches and variants has been delayed.
According to the document, it said its production rate was affected by a spike in prices of raw materials which led to a shortfall in the supply of trade items such as seats-berth, 60 KVA transformer, switchboard cabinet, and shell components/sub-assemblies.
"There was a serious shortage of wheel supply from May to September 2022 leading to a loss of production. Production of 87 coaches was lost on this account. "The delay in supply of electrics by BHEL resulted in a production loss of MEMU rakes. VB Trainset Coaches delayed as RCF did not get electrics from M/s Medha," the document said.