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SAIL, RINL to make wheels for Vande Bharat Express trains, more to come from Malaysia, US, China

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SAIL, RINL to make wheels for Vande Bharat Express trains, more to come from Malaysia, US, China

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The SAIL Durgapur Steel Plant has already produced 45,000 forged wheels for the Railways' LHB coaches and will now use the approved design to manufacture the wheels of the Vande Bharat Express trains, a source said.

SAIL, RINL to make wheels for Vande Bharat Express trains, more to come from Malaysia, US, China
The Railways has roped in the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) to manufacture wheels for Vande Bharat Express trains, sources said Tuesday.
According to them, the move is aimed at ensuring that 2.5 lakh wheels for the 400 Vande Bharat Express trains, to be produced over the next three years, are not delayed.
The SAIL Durgapur Steel Plant has already produced 45,000 forged wheels for the Railways' LHB coaches and will now use the approved design to manufacture the wheels of the Vande Bharat Express trains, a source said.
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Moreover, state-owned steel maker RINL will also manufacture forged wheels at its Rae Bareli unit in Uttar Pradesh for high-speed trains. It has already manufactured around 700 such wheels, but now they will concentrate on the Vande Bharat design model.
"These units were already making forged wheels, but they did not have the capacity to manufacture so many in the time frame we wanted. "Even now, they are our backup with wheels coming in from other countries as well. We want to ensure there are no delays," said the source.
The RINL unit in Rae Bareli has a production capacity of one lakh pieces of forged wheels per annum, sources said. Forged wheels are manufactured from a large solid piece of steel that is heated at extreme temperatures and pressurised to take shape. This thermal cycle ensures that forged wheels are stronger than other types and are fitted in trains that run at a speed of over 100 kmph, sources said.
To be ready in the next three years, Railways has also ordered wheels from Malaysia, the US and China. A Rs 170-crore tender for 39,000 solid forged wheels (rough turned) was awarded to TZ (Taizhong) Hong Kong International Ltd last month, officials said.
The 128 wheels needed for the trials of two trains to be conducted in August were airlifted from Romania to Chennai and then sent to Hyderabad recently. Sources said the Railways is also in the process of tying up with forging agencies to expedite the process of manufacturing wheels.
In the Union Budget for 2022-2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed that 400 new Vande Bharat trains be developed and manufactured over the next three years. The target is to roll out 75 such trains by August 15, 2023, according to a timeline announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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