Indian Railways is all set to roll out a ‘first of its kind’ semi-high speed self-propelled train set! Yes, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will ‘Make in India’ the EMUs (Electric Multiple Units) that can travel at speeds of up to 160 kmph. According to ICF, the train sets will allow for quicker acceleration and will be a technological leap for the coach factory. The train sets are currently in the design stage and will start getting manufacturing some time in 2018. For this reason, Indian Railways has codenamed the project as ‘Train-2018’. What makes these train sets special, apart from the fact that they mark a leap for ICF, is that they will be manufactured at “half the cost” if the same were to be imported!
The new train will have 16 fully air-conditioned coaches, and will boast of ‘world-class’ passenger amenities. Proposed for inter-city superfast travel, the train sets will replace locomotive-hauled intercity express trains. The train sets will have ‘Automatic Plug-Type’ doors which will open and close automatically at the stations. Like most chair cars, the train will have wide windows.
Keeping in mind passenger entertainment, Indian Railways proposes to equip the new train sets with onboard Wi-fi and infotainment. The train will also boast of GPS-based Passenger Information System to keep passengers informed about the location of the train. “The new train will have world-class facilities for passengers. The train will have plush interiors and diffused LED lighting. The toilets of these coaches will be fitted with zero discharge vaccum based bio-toilets and touch free fittings,” an ICF official told FE Online.
“The train set will be equipped with under slung 3 Phase IGBT based propulsion system which is energy efficient. Train 2018 will also offer more passenger space,” the ICF official said. All coaches of Train-18 will be inter-connected by fully sealed gangways. This will allow passengers to move from one coach to another with ease.
Additionally, ICF is looking to equip the train sets with improved mechanical couplers and modern bogies. “This will help keep the jerks and vibrations at bay,” the official said. “The train will have fully suspended traction motors, pneumatic secondary suspension and anti-roll bar. The brake system will be Electro Pneumatic, which will reduce the braking distance, so that full speed potential of the train can be harnessed,” the official said, adding that Train-2018 will have “many modern features which will debut for the first time on Indian Railways”.
The idea to develop these modern train sets was an outcome of the “Rail Vikas Shivir” that was organised by Indian Railways late last year. This also fits in with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s ‘Mission Raftaar’ that was announced in Rail Budget 2016. Under Mission Raftaar, Indian Railways proposes to double the average speeds of freights trains and increase the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years.