Indian Railways to test Indigenously Built ‘Train-18’ Express @ 160 Km/Hr in September

It may be noted that these trains will be inducted in the railways fleet after the initial round of testing, said the sources. The test will be conducted by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). State-of-the-art Train 18 to replace Shatabdi Express soon.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is likely to roll out its indigenously built Train 18, which is a semi-high-speed express, from September for initial testing, according to sources in Railway Ministry. The ministry officials said that ‘Train 18’ will be rolled out in September.

It may be noted that these trains will be inducted in the railways fleet after the initial round of testing, said the sources. The test will be conducted by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), which is a technical adviser to the Indian Railways. Worth mentioning that the 160 km.hr express was earlier scheduled to be rolled out in July.

The indigenous train has been built by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai and will promote the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. It will be self-propelled on electric traction – similar to how metro trains work.

The ‘Train 18’ is expected to replace the existing train fleet of Shatabdi Express, suggested Railway Ministry officials, adding that ICF will make six such train sets and two out of them will have sleeper coaches.

Not just speed and design, the new trains will also have several features to enhance passenger comfort, including fully inter-connected sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats, roller blinds, diffused LED lighting and disabled-friendly toilets.

The new trains are part of a broader railways project, which is aimed at totally revamping the national transporter, thus making it more appealing to customers.

In recent years, the Railways has taken many initiatives to make train journey for passengers safer and faster. It is planning to construct 10,000 km of new high-speed corridors to run trains at the speed of 200-250 kmph. The introduction of Train 18, which will run at the top speed of 160 kmph, is one such initiative to replace premium trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi.

What are the features of this much-hyped Train 18? The train will have steel coaches with facilities like LED TV screens, diffused LED lighting system, GPS and infotainment. Facilities like automatic plug-type doors with retractable footsteps and rotational seats – usually available for executive class — will enhance passengers’ comfort. Other facilities include zero discharge vacuum based bio-toilets, sealed gangways, roller blinds, divyang-friendly toilets, etc.

Just like a Metro train, Train 18 will not require an engine to run on tracks as it will self-propel on electric traction. Initially, six such trains will be built, but later the ICF could enhance the production, depending on the requirement. Apart from Train 18, the Railways will also roll out Train 20 by 2020. Train 18 will have a stainless steel body, and Train 20 will be made with aluminium.

Both these train are being manufactured at half the import cost under the government’s Make in India programme. Reports suggest a Train 18 and Train 20 coach will cost around Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 5.5 crore, respectively.

The government wants to replace old trains with new hi-tech trains. It has already asked all zonal railway general managers to work on increasing the speed of long-distance passenger trains by 5kmph every year, thus reaching the target of 25kmph increase in speed by 2022.

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