The railway ministry met with the External Affairs Ministry many times to discuss the supply of wheels for the Vande Bharat trains.
Digital Desk: Because India's intentions to acquire wheels for the Vande Bharat trains were thwarted by the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the Indian Railways decided to produce them at Yelahanka, Bangalore.
The conflict in Ukraine interrupted rake-wheel production, but the first batch of 128 wheels, out of a total order of 36,000 at the cost of US$16 million, was carefully transported from Ukraine to Romania by road and is expected to arrive in India by the third week of May.
Ukraine is one of the world's leading wheel producers, with the European Union providing the majority of its orders for freight railcar wheels. According to authorities, roughly 20 manufacturers worldwide currently produce these wheels.
The Railway Wheel Factory (RWF) at Yelahanka, which has already floated tenders for the parts necessary to start manufacturing, will begin producing the wheels for the Indian Railways. Officials familiar with the situation estimate that the manufacturing will be completed in two to three months. The plant has been producing axles for these wheels, both domestic and imported.
The railway ministry met with the External Affairs Ministry many times to discuss the supply of wheels for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's favorite project, the Vande Bharat trains.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared in the Union Budget for 2022-23 that 400 new Vande Bharat trains will be planned and produced over the next three years. According to PM Modi's schedule, 75 such trains will be operational by August 15, 2023.
Between May 15 and May 20, the wheels are slated to arrive in Chennai in groups and be sent to the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), where the trainsets are being constructed.
Besides the 75 trainsets, it must assemble by August 15, 2023; the ministry also needs spare wheels for the next batch.
According to the official source, it is said: "The wheels will arrive from Romania in time for the train testing, and the orders we've placed with two other businesses abroad will also arrive by next month." As a result, several trainsets will be available by June-July this year."