Leading the Way in Indian Railways’ Significant Projects

Sudhanshu Mani, during his time at Indian Railways, was involved in several significant projects. However, his role as General Manager at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai gained him the most recognition. There, he played a crucial part in the highly acclaimed Vande Bharat Express project, from its inception to its successful completion.

Reflections on Building Vande Bharat Express

The Vande Bharat Express, initially known as Train18 and later rebranded, was a groundbreaking achievement in India’s railway history. It was the country’s first semi-high-speed train built entirely in India. Sudhanshu served as the General Manager of ICF in Chennai from August 2016 until his retirement in December 2018.

Reflecting on his experience building Vande Bharat, Sudhanshu expressed his gratitude for having a talented and creative team. Together, they nurtured a dream of developing a modern and fast train with an appealing design. The project faced numerous challenges, but Sudhanshu’s determination and his team’s dedication helped overcome them.

The Inspiration Behind Sudhanshu Mani’s Vision

Sudhanshu shared a memorable incident from his early days at ICF. While inspecting the sliding door of an EMU with his team, an elderly gentleman approached him with a sketch and encouraged him to build a sleek, high-speed train for India. Unfortunately, Sudhanshu could not reconnect with the mysterious man, but the encounter left a lasting impact on him.

"Railway Revolution: Sudhanshu Mani and Vande Bharat Express."
Image Credit : theweekendleader

The journey of Vande Bharat Express, from conception to approval and public unveiling, was inspiring. Despite initial uncertainties, Sudhanshu believed in his team’s power and ability to turn dreams into reality. He secured the necessary permissions, obtained the budget, and motivated his team to complete the project before retirement.

Leadership and the Success of Vande Bharat Express

The team faced concerns regarding potential failure, tight timelines, and changes that a new boss might introduce. However, Sudhanshu reassured them, taking responsibility for any failure while promising them full credit for success. The team worked tirelessly, and by October 2018, the first train was ready for display. It underwent rigorous testing and achieved a record-breaking speed of over 180 km/hr.
Sudhanshu’s tenure at Indian Railways was marked by his contributions to Vande Bharat Express and his efforts to bring about significant changes in the organization’s culture. He introduced mechanized cleaning and airport-like trolleys for porters in railway stations. His passion for art led him to initiate the SAFAR art movement, bringing vibrant artwork to Bangalore railway station and adding a human touch to the workspace.

Born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, Sudhanshu grew up in a railway family, moving frequently due to his father’s job transfers. He completed his education and joined the Special Class Railway Apprentice program, eventually becoming a Class I railway officer. His wife, Anupama, worked as a journalist before dedicating herself to their son Sarang. Sudhanshu draws inspiration from remarkable individuals like APJ Abdul Kalam and E. Sreedharan, who have left a lasting impact on him.

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"Innovating Rail Travel: Sudhanshu Mani's Trailblazing Journey."
Image Credit : theweekendleader

Diverse Pursuits and Continued Impact

In his post-retirement phase, Sudhanshu has ventured into diverse fields, including writing books, engaging in arts, and delivering inspiring lectures. He has authored several books, with more in progress, showcasing his continued passion and commitment to making a difference.

Sudhanshu Mani’s contributions to Indian Railways, particularly his instrumental role in the Vande Bharat Express project, have left an indelible mark on the nation’s railway history. His visionary leadership, dedication, and willingness to embrace change have made him an inspiration for future generations.

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