Indian Railways unveils country’s first engine-less train

In order to provide faster trains, Indian Railways have launched its new engine-less self-propelled train set, named Train 18. The fully air-conditioned semi high-speed train set has gone through a trial run on the Bareilly-Moradabad section and is expected to replace express trains on all railway routes.

Speaking to Invest Foresight, Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer at Central Railway (CR) said, “We would be happy to be the first railway zones to operate India’s first engine-less train. However, it is up to the Railway Board to decide which zone will get Train 18. Though, it might be early to say, as the train is still under testing”. 

Indian Railways has divided its operations into zones that includes Central Railway; Eastern Railway; East Central Railway; East Coast Railway; Northern Railway; North Central  Railway; North Eastern  Railway; North Frontier  Railway; North Western Railway; Southern  Railway; South Central Railway; South Eastern Railway; South East Central  Railway; South Western Railway; Western Railway & West Central Railway.

The official also added that if Central Railway receives the new train, it will be used on the Mumbai-Goa route, Mumbai-Pune route, Pune-Solhapur route to run Train 18 are also looked into.

An Indian Railways railway expert who has written two books on railways, on condition of anonymity said that train will replace country’s fastest train today, Shatabdi Express, which is currently operating at a speed of 110 kmph.

According to the expert, Western Railway will be the first zone to get this train that will be operated on the Mumbai-Ahmadabad route connecting two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

The self-propelled train is the first train set conceptualized, designed and manufactured in India under the Make in India program.

The train which took 18 months to build has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai at a cost of $14.54 mio, which is half the price of other train sets manufactured in India.

The fully air-conditioned train is expected to start operations by December 15, 2018, and will cut travel time by 15% on all Shatabdi Express routes like Delhi-Bhopal, Chennai-Bengaluru, and Mumbai-Ahmedabad. The engine-less train will be running at 160 kmph, even though it can reach 220 kmph.

The train has better acceleration than conventional trains as it has 50% more power and is equipped with a smart braking system consisting of regenerative and electro-pneumatic braking imported from Hungary.

With 44 seats in the driving coach, the train has altogether 16 AC coaches and two executive ones. Trailer coach has 78 seats and executive chair car has 52 seats. It also has two disabled-friendly toilets and space for baby care with special pantry units.

For security purpose, the train has six CCTV cameras in each coach; one CCTV outside the driver’s coach to monitor passengers and talk-back facility to the driver with an emergency switch in each coach.

For passengers’ comfort, the two executive class coaches have seats which can rotate by 360 degrees, giving passengers the option of enjoying a straight-on view of the scenery. These seats have been air-lifted from Spain; apart from the braking system and transformers, these are the only imported components, the railway official said.

Other passengers features in Tain 18 includes entertainment system with Wi-Fi, GPS-based passenger information system, vacuum toilets, and sliding doors. 

By Jagdish Kumar

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