Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

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Vande Bharat sleeper trains project on track: In a significant development, the Indian Railways has signed a supply contract with Kinet Railway Solutions, a joint venture between Metrowagonmash (MWM) and Locomotive Electronic Systems (LES) from Russia, along with India’s Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), for the production of Vande Bharat trains.
Under this agreement, Kinet Railway Solutions will both manufacture and maintain 120 Vande Bharat passenger sleeper train sets, while also providing maintenance services for a duration of 35 years, according to a government official quoted by ET.
This development gains importance due to concerns surrounding the viability of the joint venture, especially in light of recent US sanctions against key Russian partners in this JV. The sanctions, imposed by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on September 14, targeted various Russian elites, as well as the country’s industrial base, financial institutions, and technology suppliers.
Also read: Vande Bharat sleeper superior to Rajdhani, new upgraded second class train & more coming soon – in conversation with ICF GM
Among those sanctioned are Russian oligarch Andrei Removich Bokarev, his wife Olga Vladimirovna Syrovatskaya and Transmash. Bokarev served as the president of Transmashholding JSC Group (Transmash), the parent company of MWM. Transmash is a prominent locomotive and rail equipment manufacturer. Additionally, Bokarev has ties to other rail-related manufacturing firms in Russia.
Despite these sanctions, Kinet Railway Solutions remains confident in the realization of the Vande Bharat project in India. In response to inquiries about the sanctions’ impact, the Kinet press service stated that no third-country sanctions would impede the Vande Bharat trains project, as they are committed to fulfilling their contractual obligations.

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It is worth noting that the partnership between MWM, LES, and RVNL has faced challenges since its inception, primarily related to the distribution of ownership between the Indian and Russian partners. This dispute resulted in a delay in the contract signing with the Indian Railways, even though bids for the Vande Bharat train sets were invited in December 2022 and opened in March of this year.
Earlier this year, an RVNL official had told TOI that once the contract is signed it will take 2 years for the first prototype of the Vande Bharat sleeper rake to be rolled out. Meanwhile, ICF Chennai aims to roll out the first Vande Bharat sleeper train by March 2024.
Watch Vande Bharat Sleeper: RVNL & Russia’s TMH to make new Indian Railways’ trains better than Rajdhani



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