- Oct 25, 2011
That an 8 car train is considered a "mini" in India speaks volumes.Just caught up on some additional info about the Vande Bharat. The delivery rate is now upto one set per week, and they are being deployed on new routes every so often.
The ones being procured currently are VB2 sets which are 16 car sets with 8 power cars and 8 trailers. Soon an 8 car version is coming out, the mini VB2 which will be deployed on more rural routes with lesser traffic potential. They will have just one Executive Class instead of two in the full 16 car sets, and of course 4 power cars instead of 8.
My birthplace Kolkata just got two more - Howrah to Ranchi, the capital of the state of Jharkhand, and Howrah to Puri, a popular seaside resort and the home of the famous Jagannath Temple, and the source of the English word Juggernaut. This train also serves the capital of Odissa State at Bhubaneshwar.
The 16 car VB2s are capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in about 50 sec. That performance itself is able to knock off 30-60 mins off an 8 hour scheduled compared to similar length locomotive hauled Shatabdi Express with similar stops. Since they all operate in mixed traffic on non-dedicated routes there is a lot of slowing down and speeding up involved even when there is no station stop as they make their way through congested routes. That is where the performance comes into play.
Contracts have been let out for constructing the first batch of 100 VB3 16 car Sleeper trains which will be used to replace Rajdhani Expresses as a starter to be followed by replacing other loco hauled expresses, and speeding them up in the process. These will be capable of 200kph (125mph) as and when track quality permits. They are due to come on line in 2025 or so.
Tenders have been called for the so called VB4 active tilting train sets that come after the VB3s. These are due 2026 or later.
Even if the US/Amtrak/Brightline doubled or tripled the rolling stock in use in the US, and even if new Brightline-owned tracks were laid, and even if they found a way to get the freight railroads to give Amtrak/Brightline the priority they need on non/Brightline owned lines, we would still take a generation to get to the point where the majority of Americans would look at trains in a manner anywhere close to the way India, Britain or Italy does. As normal everyday transport that can be relied upon.
I am a case in point. I am returning to Montana and all my stuff is in storage in Billings but I am attempting to get a short term rental in Hamilton just south of Missoula. Getting the furniture and my Weber grill to Hamilton is easy, just rent a U Haul and go. But then I have to get back to Billings to get my car and bring it to Hamilton. It used to be that I could take a train from Missoula to Billings but that went away when the Hiawatha was cancelled in 1979. So now I will have to rent a car and probably pay a large "one way" fee. Or I could get a flight to Seattle or Denver and then one from there to Billings. I am not sure but I think Greyhound went the way of the dodo a few years ago too.