India to receive first aluminium bodied coaches early next year

Indian Railways is expected to receive its first-ever aluminium bodied coaches early next year.

According to The Times of India report, the first set of three coaches will be ready by February 2022. These coaches will be used by Kolkata Metro.

The move comes as Indian Railways is planning to use aluminium coaches for premium train services such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.

Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in India had signed a $17.3m (INR1.28bn) contract with South Korean company Dawonsys to produce aluminium metro coaches. However, the project faced delays due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The design of metro coaches is now expected to be finalised by the end of this month.

A railway official was quoted by The Times of India as saying: “The South Korean firm will share the designs and once MCF approves they will be made in South Korea and brought in India in knocked down condition.

“To begin with they (Dawonsys) will manufacture these coaches in South Korea and slowly the transfer of technology will take place to MCF.”

Indian Railways is planning to explore the use of aluminium bodied coaches as they have lower haulage cost and better fuel efficiency compared to steel counterparts.

The corrosion resistant aluminium will also extend the lifespan of the coaches to nearly 40 years.

Additionally, the aluminium coaches can be manufactured in less time, a feature that will help in increasing production.

As agreed, the three standard gauge metro coaches will feature two driver motor cars and a trailer coach.

The scope of contract also includes a provision to produce eight broad gauge locomotive-hauled coaches, including three AC-3 tier Sleeper coaches, two AC-2 tier sleepers, one AC-1 sleeper, one AC hot buffet car and one AC DSLR with Driver/Guard cabin.

Indian Railways’ green fuel vertical Indian Railways Organisation of Alternate Fuel recently launched bids for the development of hydrogen fuel cell-based train on Indian Railways network.

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