The Indian Railways has launched a tender for the production of 58 rakes of Vande Bharat Express trains and aims to provide 75 trains by August 2022.

The move comes after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced that 75 trains will be launched in a span of 75 weeks to link different parts of the nation.

A ministry official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying: “With the tender for 44 Vande Bharat rakes earlier this year and the 58 new rakes, we will have 102 Vande Bharat trains ready by 2024.”

The tender’s closing date is on 20 October 2021.

With the cut-off date for submission of pre-bid requests on 14 September, a pre-bid meeting will be organised on 21 September.

This tender has invited bids for the design, development, manufacture, integration and trails of traction propulsion electrics for the production of 58 rakes of Vande Bharat trains.

These trains will be produced in Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, Modern Coach Factory, Rae Bareilly, and Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala.

According to a senior official, the first prototype rake is tentatively planned to be delivered in March next year, which is expected to commence services by June next year.

The new trains will feature four emergency windows for easy evacuation of travellers in case of an emergency, disaster lights in all coaches as well as additional emergency push buttons (four per coach).

As part of the upgrade, the coaches will include a centralised coach monitoring system for all electrical, climate control, and other important functions of the train set.

They will also incorporate better seats featuring a ‘pushback arrangement’ for reclining.

Last September, Indian Railways floated an updated tender for acquiring 44 semi-high-speed Vande Bharat trains, mandating 75% of domestic components.

In 2019, a Vande Bharat train was flagged off for its maiden run on the New Delhi-Varanasi route.

Recently, Indian Railways started reviewing the ongoing bidding procedure for its $4.05bn (Rs300bn) tender for the operation of private passenger trains.