Bengaluru: In a step closer to realising the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Indian Railways in all set to achieve 100 percent indigenisation of the components used in manufacturing of all the rail coaches by the end of 2022, reports Swarajya. 

What this means is that it will help railways cut its dependence on other countries including China for the components required in the coach production.

At present, the Indian Railways' production units - Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Rail Coach Factory (RCF) and the Modern Coach Factory (MCF) - manufacture the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches. The coaches manufactured by these units are completely indigenous except for the wheels and axels, as per a report in Times of India.

The factories currently import wheel discs and semi-finished axels from China, it notes. 

It has to be noted that the railways had reduced the import component to around 1.6 per cent of the total value of the items, sources said. 

It is to be noted that the railways is also planning to import items like wheels and axles from Indian manufacturers.

It is to be noted that the railways had imported around 60,000 imported LHB wheels in 2020-21, which is the annual requirement of such wheels.

Further, around 4,000 axles, constituting nearly 18 per cent of Indian railways' annual requirement, were also imported.

The website adds that LHB coaches use forged wheels, which were reportedly not manufactured in the country while the axles were imported because of the capacity constraints.
Now to cut down on imports, the railways has taken the help of manufacturers like Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL).

“Steps have been taken to indigenize forged wheel manufacturing through SAIL, Durgapur and Forged Wheel Plant of RINL being set up at Raebareli. Indian Railways have entered into an assured off-take contract with the Forged Wheel Plant of RINL for 80,000 wheels per annum that encouraged them to set up this plant. It is scheduled for commissioning shortly,” an official was quoted as saying by the website. 

SAIL, Durgapur, which was primarily manufacturing wheels for locomotives, has started manufacturing LHB wheels too, the official said.

“They have manufactured and delivered about 400 wheels that are on trial. It has a capacity to manufacture about 60,000 forged wheels of all types. Thus, with these steps a capacity of 1.1 lakh LHB wheels shall be available in India and this will be more than the annual requirement of LHB coaches,” the official added.