Train 18, the first long-distance engine-less train by Indian Railways, has successfully completed its first stage of trials by RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation). An RDSO official told Financial Express Online that the self-propelled Train 18 has “successfully completed its running and performance trials up to the speed of 115 kmph on nominated track stretches in Moradadbad division”. After being tested at speeds of 115 kmph, Train 18 will now undergo running and performance trials on Kota division for validating its performance at its designed speed of 160 kmph, the RDSO official told Financial Express Online. The Kota division route chosen for Train 18 trials is part of the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani stretch.
The new ‘Make in India’ engines-less Train 18, manufactured by ICF Chennai, is a big technological leap for Indian Railways – an eco-friendly replacement for the premium Shatabdi Express trains. Train 18 is undergoing extensive tests by RDSO before it is given the green signal by Commission of Railway Safety. The trials, which started a week ago, are expected to be complete by mid-December after which RDSO will prepare a detailed analysis report. “Indian Railways will initiate the process for obtaining necessary approvals for induction of Train 18 into commercial service after completion of the trials in Kota division,” the official added.
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Train 18 has been manufactured at a cost of around Rs 100 crore, a price that ICF GM Sudhanshu Mani says will come down as more and more train sets are manufactured. Targeting an eventual cost of around Rs 80 crore, Sudhanshu Mani believes that ICF will be able to manufacture Train 18 sets at approximately half the cost of a comparable import. The all air-conditioned chair car train has features such as faster acceleration and deceleration, no need for locomotive reversal, jerk-free rides – hence allowing for smoother rides in around 15% lesser travel time. The new train set will also offer passenger several aircraft-like comforts during the journey.
Indian Railways officials told Financial Express Online that the Railway Board is now working on plan to manufacture the sleeper-class version of Train 18 for Rajdhani Express routes.