Train 18, Indian Railways’ much-awaited engine-less train set, has got the final clearance from the Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG) - but with a catch!
Train 18, Indian Railways’ much-awaited engine-less train set, has got the final clearance from the Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG) – but with a catch! Financial Express Online learns that the clearance by EIG for Train 18 is “conditional” and will lapse in 3 months if the conditions specified are not met. A source in the Railway Ministry told Financial Express Online that EIG clearance for Train 18 states that the train set should be maintained at an electrical shed with an electrical officer as its head.
Some other changes have been recommended by the EIG within the next 3 months, for which Train 18 may have to go back to ICF, Chennai, the railway official said. But, with Train 18 getting a clearance, even though conditional, the Railway Ministry has already sent word to the Prime Minister’s Office, asking for a suitable time for inauguration by PM Narendra Modi, another official told Financial Express Online.
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According to the sources quoted above, Train 18 will be flagged off in the next week or 10 days by PM Modi, depending on his availability. Indian Railways’ fastest train at 180 kmph, Train 18 will run between Delhi and Varanasi. The 16-coach fully air-conditioned train is being called the Shatabdi-killer. The self-propelled Train 18 has been manufactured by ICF, Chennai at a cost of approximately Rs 97 crore, much lesser than what an equivalent import would cost, says Indian Railways.
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Even as it has attained speeds of 180 kmph during its trials and has been cleared for operational speeds of up to 160 kmph, Train 18 will be able to run at a maximum speed of 130 kmph on the Delhi-Varanasi route. This is due to the speed restrictions on the route. According to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, the national transporter is working to simultaneously upgrade the infrastructure on this route, with the eventual aim to run the train at 160 kmph. At present, Train 18 will take around 8 hours to cover the Delhi to Varanasi distance, with the duration expected to come down once the infrastructure on the route is upgraded for higher speeds.
The tentative time-table of Train 18, accessed by Financial Express Online, suggests that the new engine-less train will leave Delhi at 6:30 AM and reach Varanasi at 2:30 PM. After a one hour lie-over, it will leave Varanasi at 3:30 PM to reach Delhi at 11:30 PM. Enroute, the new train will stop at Kanpur and Allahabad (now Prayagraj).