In an important development, the Russian companies Metrowagonmash (MWM) and Locomotive Electronic Systems (LES) and the Indian company Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) have formed a joint venture called Kinet Railway Solutions to produce Vande Bharat trains. Here’s all about the Vande Bharat Sleeper Trains project.
Vande Bharat Sleeper Trains Project
In accordance with the terms of the contract, Kinet Railway Solutions would produce 120 Vande Bharat passenger sleeper train sets and maintain them for 35 years. This development becomes more significant as worries about the joint venture’s viability grow. Particularly in light of recent US sanctions imposed against significant Russian participants in this JV.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury slapped sanctions against various Russian leaders as well as the nation’s industrial base, financial institutions, and technology suppliers on September 14.
Among those subject to sanctions include Transmash, Olga Vladimirovna Syrovatskaya, and Russian oligarch Andrei Removich Bokarev. The company that controls MWM, Transmashholding JSC Group (Transmash), was presided over by Bokarev. Transmash is a well-known manufacturer of locomotives and rail equipment. Bokarev also has connections to other Russian manufacturers of rail-related products.
Kinet Railway Solutions Is Still Optimistic About The Project
Despite these fines, Kinet Railway Solutions is still optimistic that the Vande Bharat project will be completed in India. In answer to questions regarding the effects of the sanctions, the Kinet press office said that because they are committed to upholding their contractual responsibilities, no third-country penalties would prevent the Vande Bharat trains project.
It is important to note that the collaboration between MWM, LES, and RVNL has encountered difficulties ever since it was established, principally because of the ownership split between the Indian and Russian partners. The contract signing with the Indian Railways was delayed as a result of this disagreement, despite the fact that bids for the Vande Bharat train sets were invited in December 2022 and opened in March of this year.
When the contract is completed, it will take 2 years to build out the prototype of the Vande Bharat sleeper rake, an RVNL official had previously informed TOI.
By March 2024, ICF Chennai hopes to launch the first Vande Bharat sleeper train.
Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia