The Integral coach factory (ICF), the premier coaching unit of Indian Railways, on Monday rolled out its first indigenously developed engineless self-propelled train set “Train 18”.
Chairman of Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani along with ICF General Manager Sudhanshu Mani flagged off the train at ICF premises. Railway design and standards organization (RDSO) is now expected to put the train to field trials in North India, probably in the Bhopal route for the next couple of months before inviting the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) for the safety clearance.
The fully air-conditioned train, driven by a self-propulsion mode, has the potential to become the country’s fastest train provided the infrastructure was bettered, Lohani told mediapersons at ICF.
“It is a matter of pride that India has manufactured such a train for the first time,” he said, lauding the coach factory for doing it in 18 months.
Going by Lohani’s statement, the ICF is expected to produce another train set before the end of the year and four more in the following year. Railway sources with knowledge of the 16-coach train attributed the diversion of the train set to Northern Railway to the lack of high-speed corridor in the south.
“There is no high-speed corridor in south India. Only if we cross Bhopal, and that too on Agra – Delhi segment, do we have infrastructure to operate Train 18, which can clock 160 kmph,” a senior SR officer told DTNext, under condition of anonymity.
Touted to be a successor to Shatabdi Express introduced in 1988, Train 18 has the capacity to accommodate over 1,120 passengers (all sitting) with rotatable seats with increased leg room.
Regenerative braking system, Wi-Fi infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system and bio-vacuum toilets and automatic sliding doors were some of the special features of the train set.