Train 18, also called T-18, is all set to hit Indian Railways tracks for extensive speed and safety trials from November 19. Train 18 is Indian Railways' first self-propelled engine-less train for inter-city travel.
Train 18, also called T-18, is all set to hit Indian Railways tracks for extensive speed and safety trials from November 19. For the uninitiated, Train 18 is Indian Railways’ first self-propelled engine-less train for inter-city travel. Designed to travel at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, Train 18 is undoubtedly a big step forward towards the future of rail travel in India. With the intent to manufacture world-class self-propelled trains, Indian Railways hopes to gradually replace its premium Shatabdi Express. Financial Express Online has learnt that in the first phase, RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) will test Train 18 on the Moradabad-Saharanpur route at speeds of 115 kmph. After successfully completing the tests, Train 18 will then be run on the Sawai Madhopur-Kota section of the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani route. On this section, Train 18 will be tested at speeds of 180 kmph.
According to an RDSO official that Financial Express Online spoke to, the trials of Train 18 will be conducted on both the mainline and Rajdhani-standard tracks. “Train 18 will run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, but for any new train, we test it at around 10% higher than the proposed maximum speed. So, Train 18 is likely to be tested at around 180 kmph,” the official told Financial Express Online. Incidentally, the only train in India that has hit speeds of 180 kmph is Spain’s Talgo during trials in 2016.
Train 18 will be tested for around 80 days, the official said, adding that once RDSO compiles and analyses data, it will be in a position to give the speed certificate. “During trials, officials of ICF Integral Coach Factory, RDSO, Northern Railway officials and a team of original equipment manufacturers, will be present to fine tune the train’s various software etc,” the official added. Once RDSO gives its nod, the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) will be approached for a final clearance. Train 18 may also be tested once on the route it will ply on.
WATCH! Train 18 exclusive first impressions – it’s is world-class all the way!
India’s first self-propelled train for long distances has been designed and manufactured in a record time of 18 months by ICF, Chennai. While the first prototype has been made at a cost of approximately Rs 100 crore, once economies of scale kick-in, the price will come down to around Rs 80 crore, anticipates ICF. This is around half the cost of a similar import, which ICF says would have cost around Rs 150 crore.
Meanwhile, Train 18 was dead-hauled by a locomotive from Chennai to Delhi. According to ICF, this is the standard procedure for any new type of train, even EMUs. While some reports suggested that the reason for loco-hauling was the failure of some systems on Train 18, ICF has denied this. “The haulage was planned as such as Train 18 is not authorized to move on its own power before completion of trials,” ICF GM Sudhanshu Mani told Financial Express Online. “The train was protected and packed, there is no damage to the train. There was a small incident at the time of attachment to a locomotive in Chennai, which has been addressed satisfactorily. Trials will start shortly in Moradabad,” Sudhanshu Mani added.