IR is readying a ‘Make in India’ train rake without a separate locomotive

NEW DELHI: The railways has decided to go ahead with manufacturing on its own trainsets that can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, after its global bid in this regard failed to elicit positive response.

Aptly named ‘Train-2018’, the first trainset — a rake without a separate locomotive — is expected to be ready by March next year and likely to be pressed into service in Delhi-Lucknow or Delhi-Chandigarh sector.

A trainset, much like a Delhi Metro rake, comprises many coaches that are individually powered by a propulsion system, eliminating the need for locomotive.

“Our aim is to reduce travel time between cities and to achieve that, we have launched Train-2018 project to manufacture two trainsets at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) near Chennai on a pilot basis,” a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project told news agency PTI.

As per the Rs 200 crore project, two trainsets will be manufactured, in collaboration with foreign players on transfer of technology basis, for which the ICF has floated a fresh global tender.

Aiming to offer both comfort and pace to passengers, the project will roll out semi-high speed, 16-coach trainsets with quicker acceleration and world-class passenger amenities.

For a first in Indian Railways, these trainsets will have automatic plug type doors that will open and close at stations, wide windows for panoramic view, and ergonomically designed seating.

The railways had floated a global tender for procurement- cum-maintenance and manufacture of 15 trainsets with 315 coaches in June, 2015. Though five bidders had qualified for the initial round, they did not find the offer viable and asked for raising the tender size to 1,000 coaches.

Now, it has been decided to make it here to reduce the manufacturing and import cost, said the official.

Equipped with bio-toilets, all coaches in the fully AC trainset will be inter-connected so that passengers can move from one coach to other with ease.

To make the travel more a joyful ride, all coaches of a trainset will be provided with onboard Wi-Fi, infotainment and GPS-based passenger information system (PIS) which will keep the passengers informed about the travel status. The train will have plush interiors and diffused LED lighting.

To reduce jerk and vibration, Train-2018 will be equipped with improved mechanical couplers and modern coaches with fully suspended traction motors, pneumatic secondary suspension and anti-roll bar.