New Delhi: Indian Railways is set to launch Train 18, with the claim that it will be the fastest train in the country. It is touted as the new definition of comfort and speed for rail travel. Mint gives a preview of Train 18 and how it can change the experience of travelling by trains.
How Train 18 can change future of rail travel in India
What is Train 18?
Train 18 is an electric multiple unit (EMU), semi-high speed train where the engine is inbuilt as part of the rake. Built at a cost of ₹100 crore, the train was named after its launch year—the first one was supposed to start operations by 2018. As per the Indian Railways’ plan, two sets of Train 18will be developed initially. Till now, one set is ready. The train was built using indigenous technology and is not a product of reverse engineering, though European experts were consulted, according to engineers at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF), where it was developed. ICF is expecting an order of 10 more such trains in 2019-20.
What are the features of Train 18?
Each train has 16 compartments, including two first-class coaches. Its carrying capacity is 1,128 passengers, with each coach accommodating 78 people and the first class 52. The train has electrically operated, automatic sliding doors similar to those in metro coaches. It has cushioned comfortable seats, vacuum toilets and a better interior design than that of conventional trains such as the Shatabdi and EMUs. A sleeper variant is also expected soon. Train 18 can run at a maximum speed of 180km per hour. However, during trials, the highest operational speed achieved by the train was 160km per hour.
Is it the fastest train?
No, it is not. Worldwide, there are trains that run at higher speeds. In Europe and the US, trains are considered high-speed only when they break the 200km per hour barrier for general operations.
Who developed Train 18?
Train 18 has been developed by a team of engineers and experts working at the Indian Railways Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. The team took around 1.5 years to build the train and its design has been inspired by the new-age high-speed trains and bullet trains. Train 18 is aimed at replacing Linke Hofmann Busch coaches and Shatabdis. According to the team, costs are likely to drop 30-40% if the train sets are produced on a quantity basis. The Railways is yet to allocate a fund or demand for mass production of Train 18.
What will be its route?
Train 18 is an intercity train for journeys of short and medium duration. The Railways plans to initially run it between New Delhi and Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was supposed to start operations in December 2018, but later it was decided the train would be a prime attraction during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 9 January and the Kumbh Mela beginning this month. Railway minister Piyush Goyal said Modi would inaugurate the train in January, after which its general operations would commence.