The Indian Railways has set its intention to soon launch high-speed freight trains on the Vande Bharat platform, to capture high-value and time-sensitive cargo consignments presently being moved via other forms of transport.
Designed for palletized container transportation at a speed of 160 kmph, the Vande Bharat freight trains have1,800-mm wide rakes with automatic sliding doors with provisions to load reefer containers for temperature-sensitive cargo, a pneumatically retractable roller floor system with a locking facility for easy handling of pallets, and a total payload of 264 tonnes.
In a note issued to General Managers of all Zonal Railways on Tuesday, the Ministry of Railways said the first rake of freight EMU on the Vande Bharat platform would be launched very soon. Based on discussions held with potential customers, the first service would be introduced in the Delhi and Mumbai regions.
The Senior officials across the railway network are asked to initiate talks with potential customers at the Zonal and Divisional levels, and identify terminals for launching the services at the earliest. Further, they are asked to ensure the availability of adequate infrastructure to operate the Vande Bharat freight trains and work on the timetable in consultation with the Zonal Railways en route.
Special marketing teams would hold consultations with customers and other stakeholders to identify potential routes for operating the superfast freight trains and send a report in a couple of weeks, sources from Indian railways said adding that the tariff structure would be finalized by the Railway Board soon.
The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai is expected to roll out the first freight EMU rake on the Vande Bharat platform in December this year. The ICF had designed and developed the first two rakes of ‘Train18’, which were later named Vande Bharat Express and introduced on the Delhi-Varanasi and Delhi-Katra routes.