Indian Railways fails to meet production targets for coaches, wheels and locomotives, here's why

Indian Railways fails to meet production targets for coaches, wheels and locomotives, here's why

Similarly, the production of locomotives during this fiscal till July is around 28 percent lower than the set targets, the document showed.

To manage the passenger inflow, Indian Railways had set targets to produce more coaches to give rail passengers the comfort and convenience of travel. However, Railways' flagship production units have failed to meet the manufacturing targets of coaches, wheels, locomotives, and other rolling stock for the first four months of this fiscal, with officials attributing it to the supply chain disruption caused by the Ukraine crisis. A recent performance review of the Railway production units found the manufacturing of these essential components was way below the proportionate target for the first four months of this fiscal.

The review meeting with the general managers of the factories was chaired by Railway Board Chairman and CEO VK Tripathi, where the production shortfall till July 25 was flagged. For instance, in the case of EMU/MEMU trains, only 53 coaches -- Rail Coach Factory-Kapurthala (28), Integral Coach Factory-Chennai (14), and Modern Coach Factory-Raebareli (11) -- were manufactured against a target of 730.

Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) and EMU trains are deployed on short and medium-distance routes and those connecting urban areas with suburban localities. The production of MEMU rakes (formation of coupled coaches that makes up a train, minus the loco) has been "abysmally low" which is a serious cause of concern and needs to be addressed immediately, the documents said.

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The meeting also raised concerns over the short supply of the MEMU/EMU electric propulsion system, 60 KVA transformers, and switch cabinets. The GMs were urged that such issues be "addressed immediately" to ensure there is no "shortfall in production." The Railways said the shortfall in production of MEMU and EMU coaches is mainly due to the short supply of "electrics" (electrical components) by propulsion suppliers which, in turn, was triggered by an insufficient supply of semiconductors due to the worldwide crisis of semiconductors.

"Large scale orders given by the railways for electrics could not be honoured by the suppliers. The industry also couldn't come up to meet the increase in demand for electrics by the Railways. This is likely to improve in the remaining months of this fiscal, and in the remaining months, the production will be ramped up," it said.

Like local train coaches, the production of LHB passenger coaches for long-distance trains during the same period was also below the proportionate targets -- the ICF produced 20.4 percent fewer coaches, the RCF was 10.2 percent behind, and the MCF almost 56 percent. The Railways said the shortfall in the production of LHB coaches was largely due to the disruption in the supply chain of forged wheels which were mostly being imported from Ukraine, which has been embroiled in a war with Russia since February.

"A ship loaded with wheel discs was stranded in Ukraine. This problem has now been resolved. All the shortfall will be made good during the remaining months," the Railways said. The July meeting, the documents showed, discussed how the short supply of propulsion systems, traction motors, and locomotive wheels was acting as a major hindrance in achieving the production targets.

"It was noted that despite not meeting supply commitments, fresh orders are still being placed to the same firms with extremely high delivery periods," the documents showed. The production of wheelsets by the Railway Wheel Factory is 21.96 percent behind the proportionate target and that by Rail Wheel Plant, Bela, 64.4 percent off the target, the documents stated.

Similarly, the production of locomotives during this fiscal till July is around 28 percent lower than the set targets, the document showed. It said 40 locomotive failures have been detected within 100 days till June and called for punitive action in such cases.

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