CHENNAI: In a sudden twist, the Indian Railways has decided to shift the manufacturing of Train-18 coaches from ICF in Chennai to Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. Critics have attacked BJP, saying the move is aimed at gaining political mileage in UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
ICF officials who toiled for three long years to produce the first rake of Train-18 are dejected and shocked. Coaches of Train-18 — later renamed as Vande Bharat Express and introduced between Delhi and Varanasi recently — are manufactured with 80 per cent indigenous materials. “Train-18 rake was the result of painstaking efforts of the ICF,” said ICF officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It was fully designed by us. The Railway Board has not given us administrative or technical reasons to move the production out of ICF.” Sources, however, claimed it was because of upcoming elections.
Rae Bareli has traditionally been a stronghold of the Gandhi family and BJP is trying to boost its prospects there in the coming elections. Railway Board officials were unavailable for comments. Recently, the Board sent an order to ICF, directing it to transfer the coach design and other engineering related documents to the Modern Coach Factory.
The bigger concern is that the Modern Coach Factory, which came into existence only in 2012, has no infrastructure or technical resources to produce such advanced rail coaches, according to senior officials in the railways. Top ICF officials have registered their displeasure and opposition to the move. It has also been learnt that the officials have refused to hand over the Train-18 design.
As a result, ICF Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer Shubhransu has been transferred to Southern Railway. Shubhransu played a crucial role in designing the modern coaches. He has been replaced by Southern Railway Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer A K Kathpal at ICF.
Ordered to transfer design and engg docs
Recently, the Board sent an order to ICF, directing it to transfer the coach design and other engineering-related documents to the Modern Coach Factory. Sources say the Modern Coach Factory lacks technical resources to produce such advanced rail coaches