The work at creating maintenance facilities for semi-Bullet Air Conditioned Vande Bharat trains will begin at Wadi Bunder and Jogeshwari by next year. Sources said that the process for tendering will soon begin and initial plans are being worked on now. The Free Press Journal was the first to report about Mumbai playing a vital role in the maintenance and running of Vande Bharat. This comes at a time when routes are being contemplated for Vande Bharat trains which could start from Mumbai.
The railway authorities on both Central and Western Railways are working out on redeveloping sites where the next generation AC Sleeper Vande Bharat semi-high speed trains can be maintained.
According to sources in Central Railway, they are working out plans for the revamp at Wadi Bunder where the maintenance facility will come up.
“We will begin tendering process and other procedures for setting up the maintenance yard and coaching complex for Vande Bharat trains at Wadi Bunder, soon. We expect work to start only by 2023 onwards in developing the same,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity. At Wadi Bunder the CR has a linen washing plant and a huge yard for long-distance trains among other amenities.
On the Western Railway front, there are two locations identified by the Indian Railways (Mumbai Central and Jogeshwari). Sources in the railway said that Mumbai Central is already too congested and has less space and so according to senior officials from WR, Jogeshwari is the likely candidate for setting up the coaching complex for AC Sleeper Vande Bharat trains.
Jogeshwari siding could be better suited for the proposed trainset depot instead of the one selected at Mumbai Central Terminus. In a letter written by the Railway Board to all the Zonal Railways, they have asked to examine these locations in detail and to plan for the development and up-gradation of maintenance infrastructure of Vande Bharat trains at these locations.
“There is space available for setting up the maintenance facility for Vande Bharat trains at Jogeshwari. This is apart from developing Terminus at Jogeshwari,” said a WR official.
The New Coaching Terminus will come up at Jogeshwari for Rs 69 crore that will accommodate 24-car trains on two sides where trains will terminate. Once ready in 2025 or so, this will become another rail terminus for people taking long-distance trains.
As per plans, a 600 meter long and 12-meter wide island platform will be created with tracks on either side. An island platform allows passengers to alight and board trains on both sides.
The Vande Bharat trains will also get separate washing lines. Each of them will have at least two washing lines nominated for 10 trains.
In Mumbai, the washing lines will be provided at CSMT, Mumbai Central and Bandra. The new AC Sleeper Coaches for Vande Bharat will be used on medium and long distances. The Vande Bharat trains with AC sleeper facilities will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 26,000 crore. A tender for manufacturing cum maintenance of 200-energy efficient Vande Bharat Trains has been called.
Earlier this year, the Indian Railways excitedly emphasized the introduction of 400 semi-high speed next-generation Vande Bharat Express trains in three years. According to Budget documents, Rs 41,000 crore is what would cost the Indian Railways for introducing more and better Vande Bharat Express trains in the future.