An Exclusive Interview With Mr. Lalit Chandra Trivedi – Chief Mechanical Engineer, Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai





Lalit Chandra Trivedi
Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) at Integral Coach Factory

Location: ICF Colony Perambur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Company: Integral Coach Factory

Rail Analysis India: In Continuation to our previous interview, Please tell us something about yourself along with your experience in Integral Coach Factory ?

Mr. Trivedi- After graduating in Mechanical Engineering in 1981, I served NTPC for two years before joining Indian Railways.  Over last 34 years with Indian Railways;  I have handled many challenging assignments related to Operation, Maintenance and Manufacture of Rolling stock/Locomotives.  I have also worked as Chief Safety Officer (Railway Operations), North East Frontier Railway at Guwahati and Divisional Railway Manager, Bilaspur (the Coal Capital of India).  The idea of setting-up of first tunnel type mechanised laundry for washing bed rolls on Indian Railways on BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) at Mumbai was for the first time conceived and implemented by me.  Today around 50 such mechanized laundries are working on this model on Indian Railways.  Currently I am engaged in setting up facility for manufacturing High Speed coaches and Trainsets in ICF, Chennai, besides routine manufacture of around 2500 Stainless Steel Coaches per annum. Sub-urban transportation system of Mumbai (CR & WR); Kolkata (ER & SER) and Chennai (SR) are almost 100% dependant upon Electrical Multiple Unit rakes manufactured at ICF.  ICF is also manufacture of Special Rolling Stock to meet the needs of Defence and Tourism Sector.  Overall my last five years at ICF have been quite fruitful and satisfactory,

Rail Analysis India: We understand that you are Chief Mechanical Engineer at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), please brief us on the projects for which you have worked till now and which among these you feel is the most challenging one ?

Mr. Trivedi- Currently following Projects on hand and at various stages of execution: –

  1. Project for setting up facility for setting up facility for manufacturing 3000+ High Speed LHB Coaches (Rs.1500 crores) per annum
  2. Project for manufacturing Aluminium Trainsets (Around Rs.2,500 Crores +).
  3. Project for manufacturing Springs for High Speed Coaches.

The most challenging out of the above is manufacturing Aluminium Trainsets with globally best in class features.

Rail Analysis India: Recently, India’s First Air-Conditioned (AC) Suburban Train, manufactured at ICF Chennai, Commenced Its Services In Mumbai, please brief us what were the new features ICF provided in the train ?

Mr. Trivedi- It was a challenging task to design the air conditioned EMU train set for Mumbai, due to the prevailing ‘super dense crush loading’ conditions in these train services. EMU trains are generally having non-AC coaches. Large doorways and windows are provided to have adequate air flow even under severe rush. In the event of 600 commuters occupying a Trailer Car (also called as ‘Super Dense Crush Loading’), serious problem ‘suffocation’ arises. Thus within minutes of near-total absence of fresh atmospheric air, the concentration of Carbon-di-Oxide (CO2) rises to unacceptable levels. The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) Standards for ‘Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality” recommend that the steady-state CO2 concentration, in a closed space, shall not exceed 700 ppm above atmospheric levels.

To get over such uncomfortable situation, ICF has made provision of ‘Forced Ventilation System’ – a major improvement on these new generation EMU trains for Mumbai Suburban System, designed to deliver 15000 Cubic Meters of fresh air into each train coach. Thus the system not only achieves the desired CO2 concentration levels, but also dilutes the odour emanating from human bio-effluents to reasonable comfort of commuters.

Nevertheless, as a permanent solution to manage overcrowding as well as to provide premium class travel experience to the suburban traveller, it is felt necessary to have Air Conditioned coaches in the EMU trains. Some new features of this train are,

  • Stainless steel body coaches with straight side walls
  • Air tight gangways (Vestibules) available for through passage for each 6-coach basic unit.
  • 2 x 15 ton capacity roof mounted package units (RMPU) for air conditioning in each coach.
  • Roof AC ducts are insulated and provided with streamlined diffuser grills.
  • Separate AC unit for driver cab.
  • Electrically operated automatic sliding doors. Emergency egress and manual override available.
  • Passenger talk-back facility at each doorway for emergency.
  • IGBT based 3-phase AC electric propulsion system – Air cooled onboard equipment.
  • FRP driver desk with sleek controls and LCD display.
  • LED destination boards

  • 3-seater injection moulded polycarbonate seats in all the coaches.
  • Polycarbonate twin handles on SS ball-and-socket joint for hand holding
  • Aluminium extruded modular luggage racks with polycarbonate transparent glass at bottom.
  • 2m wide and large double glass sealed windows for panoramic view.
  • Wear resistant PVC floor top with Aluminum honey-comb sub-floor.
  • Sleek screwless interior paneling made with Aluminium Composite Panels.
  • GPS based LED displays for passenger information and announcement system.
  • Regenerative brake and EP brake. Up to 35% Electrical Energy savings due to Regeneration.

ICF plans to make more such trains after analysing feedback information from the Railway.

Rail Analysis India: In light of the recent vendor development drive by the Indian Railways, What are the initiatives and objectives IR seeks to achieve and the targets ? How can the local vendors scale up their manufacturing in India and How can ICF Support them ?

Mr. Trivedi- Vendors are our ‘Partners in Progress’. ICF is the nodal agency for development and approval of vendors for coaching stock and especially for self-propelled train sets. ICF has been successful in developing capable vendors in and around Chennai for major sub assemblies. ICF conducts frequent vendor development meets to encourage local vendors for development of supply of items. These vendors, not only support ICF but, also qualify to supply the items to other Production Units and Zonal Railways, for which the firm is an approved source.

ICF manages a vendor portal on its website to invite vendors and submit application online without any need to personally meet ICF officials. The vendor directory is also available in ICF website and latest status of item/ vendor can be viewed easily. The vendor directory is revised once in a year and dynamic updates are uploaded, as and when there is change in status.

A transparent vendor rating based on quality of supplies and timely deliveries is maintained for each approved vendor. The firms are encouraged to increase their production capacity to meet growing demand of coaching sub-assemblies.

With the demand for best-in-class trains that match with the trains operated in Europe and other advanced countries, ICF has developed indigenous sources to supply 3-phase propulsion system, bogies, car body items and interiors. ICF is now capable of delivering world class coaches.

Rail Analysis India: What is the aim of Railways in introducing Aluminium-bodied trainsets- called Train-20 and what are the new features ( incl. safety features ) , We can expect in the trainsets ?

Mr. Trivedi- Presently Inter City and long distance passenger traffic on Indian Railways is carried in locomotive-hauled trains whereas sub-urban and short distance passenger traffic is catered by EMU/ DEMU services.  There are two types of passenger coaches in operation on Indian Railways in locomotive-hauled trains. One, the conventional Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches, which are primarily made out of Corten Steel, with speed potential of 110-130 kmph. The other type is the LHB design coach, made up of stainless steel side wall, roof and end wall with FIAT bogie, with speed potential of 160 kmph.

In order to improve passenger through-put by way of higher acceleration/deceleration and reduction in turnaround time, Indian Railways plans to introduce train sets with distributed powering for passenger traffic, working on 25000 V, single phase, AC, 50 Hz, OHE system.  This project is driven by the corporate mission of providing semi-high speed trains with service speed of 160 Km/h, with world-class technology and best in class passenger amenities.

Railway Board has transferred the project of acquisition of 15 Trainsets at Sanctioned cost Rs 2,500 Crores to ICF for implementation. To ensure that the trainsets are made to international quality standards and to make the project viable, ICF has planned to get the Trainsets made at ICF by Established High speed trainset manufacturers. Coaches for these trainsets must necessarily be energy-efficient and of light-weight construction and therefore will be Aluminium-bodied.

The train set is code Named as Train-20, as the First such train is likely to be turned out in 2020. Some of the salient features are as follows-

  • Speed – 160 kmph
  • Test Speed – 176 kmph
  • Aluminium car body crash-worthy design meeting EN 15227 standards
  • Air Conditioned Chair Car and Sleeper Type
  • Each Basic unit of 4 Cars
  • 16 & 20 Car ( 4 & 5 Basic Units) trainsets
  • 16 car consist of Chair car and exec chair type coaches
  • 20 car-sleeper type coaches-IA, IIA & IIIA.
  • 18 T Axle Load
  • Under slung 3 Phase propulsion system
  • Automatic Doors

Number of Coaches being planned –

  • 10 Trainsets of 20 Coach
  • 5 Trainsets of 16 Coach
  • 11 Spare Coaches
  • Total 291 Coaches (likely to be increased)

Train-20 project will further strengthen IR’s capability to make best-in-class Self Propelled High Speed and Medium Speed Trainsets for intercity as well as commuter service. It will be a major leap for “Make In India” mission.

Rail Analysis India: Can you tell us about the Role of ICF In Metro projects In India , Will ICF now be looking to participate in supplying rolling stock for Metro Projects in the future ?

Mr. Trivedi- India’s first underground Metro system in Kolkata runs the trains supplied by ICF during 1980s. Even after three decades, these Non-AC rakes are still in service. In the recent past, Air conditioned stainless steel body coaches have been supplied by ICF to Kolkata Metro Railway. Provided with improved interiors, 13 rakes have been turned out during 2008-2011.

ICF has now taken up manufacture of ‘Best in Class’ fully air conditioned metro coaches for Kolkata. The coaches are built on stainless steel body. These are with indigenously developed state-of-the-art 3 phase propulsion system. The coaches have new generation bogies with fully suspended traction motors. Two rakes have already been supplied and a total of 26 rakes are planned during next two years.

The new generation Metro coaches are highly appreciated for the build quality, finish and interior ambience. The coaches of this train are comparable to any other Metro train coaches operated in India.

ICF has strategically positioned itself with technical capability to provide best-in-class features and state-of-the-art 3 phase propulsion system from indigenous sources. ICF is presently in contact with Metro operators and Ministry of Urban transport to get development orders for supply of metro trainsets.

Rail Analysis India: What is the status on the “Mission Retro-Fitment” program, to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23, a important step by railways for providing better and safer travel experience? Which are the companies from India and Overseas contributing to this ?

Mr. Trivedi- In order to provide improved interiors on existing coaches, retro-fitment of upgraded interiors has been taken-up by IR. Under this project, existing in-service coaches will be stripped of old conventional interiors and retro-fitted with upgraded components to get World Class Ambience: The refurbished coaches will have screwless interior paneling, LED lights, Sleek modular toilets, Powered Venetian blinds for AC coach windows and vinyl graphics exterior finish. One such train has been retro-fitted already by Bhopal workshop and is operated as Mahamana Express in New Delhi-Varanasi route.

ICF has already floated a tender for refurbishing of 3000 coaches as a pilot project to undertake retro-fitment and the work will be carried out at different railway workshops. A round of pre-bid meeting with probable vendors has also been done.

Rail Analysis India: Any feedback for our Magazine ?

Mr. Trivedi- As a regular reader of your Magazine, I find it is dealing with contemporary themes in Railway Sector (both Metro and non-Metro) in a deft and professional manner.  I wish success to your Magazine.

Image Credit: ICF

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