India To Sign $6.5 Billion Deal With Russia For 120 Vande Bharat Express Trains

The Russian news agency TASS has reported that India is set to sign a $6.5 billion deal with a Russian firm for the purchase of 120 Vande Bharat Express trains.

Russian-based Transmashholding (TMH) has won the bid for the production, supply and maintenance of 120 Vande Bharat Express trains, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The contract is expected to be signed between Indian Railways and TMH by June 1 this year. The Indian Railways will pay $1.8 billion for supplying the trains and another $2.5 billion for their maintenance over a period of 35 years. Considering indexation, the total value of the contract could be as much as $6.5 billion, the news agency said.

“The decision has been made, but the document itself has not been signed … [it will be signed – TASS) within 45 days from March 29,” chief executive officer Kirill Lipa of TMH said.

The Russian company took part in the tender process jointly with the Indian state construction and engineering company RVNL. It beat out the proposals by companies such as Alstom, Stadler, Siemens, and a consortium of local producers led by Titagarh and Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL), which bid the second-lowest.

Each of these 16-car 120 Vande Bharat trains will be produced at the Marathwada Rail Coach Factory in Latur. The trains are expected to be delivered between 2026 and 2030. The first two prototypes, however, will be ready for trials by the end of 2025.

The RTI filed by Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur revealed that the average speed of the Vande Bharat Express trains was 84.48 kmph in 2021-22 and 81.38 kmph in 2022-23, despite it being built to hit 180 kmph.

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