Joka-Esplanade Metro will be India’s first Metro to run on indigenously manufactured Head Hardened Rail. The first lot of these indigenous rails reached Joka depot on Monday (10th August 2020).
Till date all the Metros in India have been running on imported rails as Indian steel companies did not produce head hardened (HH) rails, which are used for high speed trains (>250 kmph), heavy traffic of varying axle loads for freights and Metro rail. The 1080 grade HH rails are manufactured using an additional heat treatment. So far, these rails were used to be imported from Japan and Europe. Besides, supply issues from the foreign shores under the current situation, the manufacturing of HH rails is a move towards self reliance.
According to a senior Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) official, the executing agency of Joka-Esplanade Metro, following the Railway Board’s policy of indigenization and economy in purchase and procurement, RVNL became the first company to place order with Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), which was selected through a rigorous bidding process.
“This is a great leap. These will not only save our foreign exchange resources, but generate jobs and encourage other steel manufacturers to come forward to produce world class rails. In the long run, our Make-In-India initiative will facilitate the reduction of production cost to make them competitive,” said the RVNL official.
“Yes, the first order for domestic Metro rail, precisely for the Joka-Esplanade corridor, came from RVNL. I appreciate RVNL’s effort to repose faith on JSPL, the only Indian producer. This certainly gives a big boost to the self-reliant India drive,” said Vijay Kumar Chama, president, sales and marketing, JSPL.
The firm is supplying 3,000 tonnes of HH rails worth Rs 17.3 crore to RVNL. The HH rail procured from JSPL will be enough for laying tracks from Joka to Mominpore, the elevated stretch of the Metro corridor.
“It is not possible to procure such rails entirely from indigenous production units,” said an official. But, this was not an easy process to have this shift. The entire process was inspected, examined and vetted by different railway organizations, including Research Design and Standard Organization (RDSO) and Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES).
So far, JSPL has supplied 1,300 tonnes of 1080-grade HH rails to RVNL, and the remaining 1,700 tonne rail will be made available within a week, the company said.
The company’s Managing Director V R Sharma said, “We thank RVNL, Indian Railways, IRCON, and Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) for extending their cooperation and trust in JSPL’s quality.”
JSPL is the only player in India manufacturing HH rails. The company’s rail mill at its Raigarh plant has a capacity to produce over 30,000 tonnes of such rails per month.