As part of its ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, the Modi government is going to set up a dedicated rail wheel manufacturing facility with an aim to start the export of the machinery part in the next five years.
“Rails and wheels of high-speed trains are among the big items that we are importing. We have been deliberating on how we can become an exporter from an importer,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters here on Friday.
The railway minister said that the government has floated a tender for the manufacturing of rail wheels. “Within two months, we will finalise modalities to set up the factory,” he said.
Before inviting bids, the Ministry of Railways conducted a “complete technical analysis and discussion with the industry”.
Rail wheels are made of forged steel and the manufacturing involves a rigorous process to ensure that the final product is stiff and strong.
Vaishnaw said India has been importing forged wheels since 1960 from European nations, but now is planning to manufacture them in the country to meet domestic demands as well as for export.
“The demand for forged wheels has risen to around 2 lakh per annum. We get around 1 lakh per year from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). We will get the rest from the new factory for which a tender has been floated,” he stated.
As per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, Vaishnaw said, the government is planning to export rail wheels. “Europe is facing production disruptions and we want to target Europe for rail wheel export,” he added.
He said that the government wants assured production in the next five years. The government announcement comes amid production and supply chain disruptions caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the railway minister also informed us that the Vande Bharat train achieved 100/kmph from zero quicker than the bullet train.
“Vande Bharat train’s third testing got completed on Thursday. It completed 0-100 kmph in 52 seconds, while bullet train takes 54.6 seconds to achieve 0-100 kmph,” he told reporters.