The Railways has decided to introduce a freight version of the semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express, the first service of which will be operated between the Delhi-NCR and Mumbai regions.
Christened “Freight EMU”, these trains will serve as a superfast parcel service aimed at capturing high-value and time-sensitive cargo consignments currently being moved via other forms of transport, according to a letter from the Railway Board to general managers of zonal railways on October 11.
Vande Bharat freight trains have been designed for palletised container transportation at a speed of 160 km/hour. The 1,800-mm wide rakes with automatic sliding doors would have provisions to load reefer containers for temperature-sensitive cargo, a pneumatically retractable roller floor system with locking facility for easy handling of pallets, and a total payload of 264 tonnes.
The Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, which is manufacturing the bulk of the Vande Bharat trains, is expected to roll out the first freight EMU rake on the Vande Bharat platform in December, sources said.
The letter states that based on interactions with some potential customers, the first service would be introduced between the Delhi-NCR region and the Mumbai region.
Zonal railways have been requested to identify and interact with the potential customers and identify the terminals for running the initial services.
The zonal railways have also been asked to identify other potential routes for subsequent services.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off India’s fourth Vande Bharat Express train from Una station in Himachal Pradesh. The train will run between Amb Andaura in Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi.
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