In the presence of the Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal and the Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Shri Praful a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here today between Indian Railways and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for setting up of Greenfield MEMU coaches manufacturing facility by BHEL at Bhilwara in Rajasthan. The signatories to the MOU were Shri Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical Railway Board, and Shri B. P. Rao, CMD, BHEL.
Main Line Electric Multiple Unit Trains, popularly known as MEMU trains were first introduced in Indian Railways in the Year 1994-95, as a mode of rapid transit system, to cater to non-suburban passengers, residing in small towns and villages surrounding urban and industrial centres. MEMU trains have higher passenger carrying capacity and higher average speed as compared to conventional loco hauled passenger trains due to faster acceleration and braking characteristics. These rakes are now being manufactured with toilet facilities to take care of passenger needs. MEMU trains increase the line capacity utilisation, and therefore are more suitable for running on high traffic density routes.
These MEMU trains have gained rapid popularity over the years. Currently, there are about 160 MEMU services running. There are demands coming from all over the country for running more and more MEMU trains. The demand for these coaches will further increase as Indian Railways have plans to Electrify approximately 15000 route kilometre during the next 10 years, in addition to the existing 22000 route kilometre of electrified track. There was a shortfall in acquisition of 800 MEMU coaches during XIth Plan Period due to capacity constraints at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, where these MEMU coaches are produced. Overall it is expected that the requirement of MEMU coaches will grow to nearly 9000 coaches during the next 10 year period. Setting up of factory for conventional MEMU coaches will go a long way in meeting this demand.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is a Maharatna Central Public Sector Unit (CPSU) company, which is a partner of Indian Railways for a period spanning more than 40 years. It has been manufacturing and supplying electric rolling stock including EMUs and MEMUs; as well as sub-assembly and equipment for rolling stock being manufactured at IR’s own production units.
The proposed facility for production of MEMU coaches will be set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Bhilwara in the State of Rajasthan. The entire cost will be borne by BHEL. Government of Rajasthan will provide land to Railways, for setting up the project. In order to make the project viable, Ministry of Railways will give Assured Off- Take orders to BHEL.