On Sunday, India’s first locomotive-less train or Train 18 crossed the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run, a top official said in Chennai. Thus, the country’s fastest train was indegenously designed and costs Rs 100 crore.
S Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that has manufactured the train, told news agency IANS, “Train 18 breached the 180 kmph speed limit in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. The major trials are now over with just some more remaining. Based on the reports fine tuning would be done if needed. As of now no major technical problem has cropped up.”
He also added that, Train 18 is expected to commence its commercial run from January 2019. Normally, trials like this take three months but this time it happened faster than expected.
It is touted that, Train 18 might replace the current Shatabdi Express – a day train.
According to reports, Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided that the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit, Mr Mani had said earlier.
When asked about rolling out a sleeper version of Train 18, Mr Mani said that the organisation can roll out sleeper coaches as well. Major modifications to the train would not be required to covert it in to a sleeper coach.
He mentioned that, the ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
Speaking about the export potential of Train 18, Mani said, first the domestic demand will be met and then the overseas market would be look at. He also pointed out that overseas demand depends on the kind of rail tracks they have. Developing countries can certainly buy Train 18.
Equipped with 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express. Also, Train 18 is about 15-20 per cent energy efficient and leaves less carbon footprint.
According to officials, the train was conceived, designed and developed in a record-breaking time of about 18 months’ time as against the industry norm of about four years.
Notably, Train 18 has an aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.