New Delhi, December 2: 'Train 18', India's first engine-less train, has successfully clocked the 180 km/hr speed during its fresh trial run on Sunday. With the success of this round of trials, Train 18 has emerged as the fastest train in India, replacing the incumbent Shatabdi Express.
The first locomotive-free train, built indigenously at a cost of Rs 100 crore, will ply on commercial basis from January 2019, S. Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF), the firm which has manufactured the premium train. 10 Things to Know About The First Engine-Less Train in India.
"We expect Train 18 to commence its commercial run from January 2019. Normally the trials take three months. But now it is happening faster than expected," he added.
"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," Mani further said.
Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided that the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit, Mani had earlier told IANS.
Queried about rolling out a sleeper version of Train 18, he said: “We can roll out sleeper coaches as well. No major modifications to the train would be needed for that.”
The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
On the export potential, he said, first the domestic demand will be met and then the overseas market would be look at.
“The overseas demand depends on the kind of rail tracks they have. Medium income countries can certainly buy this train,” Mani said.
On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled or engine-less train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express. It is about 15-20 per cent energy efficient and leaves less carbon footprint.
Officials said the train was conceived, designed and developed in about 18 months’ time as against the industry norm of about four years.
It has an aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
According to the ICF, every alternative coach is motorised, to ensure even distribution of power and faster acceleration or deceleration.
The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
Mani also said the fully air-conditioned train offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under the carriage/coach, so that more space is available on board.
Among the features that enhance passenger comfort are inter-connected fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting, and disabled-friendly toilets.
There are also emergency talk-back units, through which passengers can talk to crew in case of emergency, while CCTVs are provided in all coaches for safe and secure travel.
(With IANS inputs)