Engine-less train to replace Rajdhani Express! After rolling out Train 18 - Indian Railways' first engine-less chair car train set -ICF Chennai is now looking to manufacture the sleeper-class version of this self-propelled train.
Engine-less train to replace Rajdhani Express! After rolling out Train 18 – Indian Railways’ first engine-less chair car train set – the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai is now looking to manufacture the sleeper-class version of this self-propelled train. The new 160 kmph capable train set will likely replace the Rajdhani Express trains on key routes. Financial Express Online learns that Railway Board has already expressed interest in getting a sleeper-class version of the engine-less Train 18 made. However, no order has been placed yet.
According to an ICF official that Financial Express Online spoke to, once Train 18 undergoes extensive trials by RDSO, and starts plying from January 2019, the Railway Board is expected to give the nod to make a sleeper-class train set on the same platform. Sudhanshu Mani, GM of ICF Chennai is confident that the coach factory will be able to make the long-distance sleeper-class version in around 8 months after the Railway Board gives the go-ahead. “In future, we will be making sleeper class trains to replace Rajdhani trains on the Train 18 platform. The hard part is over, converting this to a sleeper configuration is a task ICF will be able to do without many hiccups,” Sudhanshu Mani told Financial Express Online.
Train 18 with its state-of-the-art self-propulsion system allows for faster acceleration and declaration, hence reducing the total journey time by at least 15% if it plies at 130 kmph. With 160 kmph capability, the time would come down further. This means that on major Rajdhani Express routes such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah, at least 2 hours would be saved.
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Train 18’s sleeper-version would also be manufactured on the stainless-steel LHB platform. With no locomotives required to haul it, the turnaround time at terminal stations would also be reduced, making overnight journeys to major metros a reality. Meanwhile, ICF will roll out the second Train 18 set in February 2019 and four more will be manufactured in 2019-2020. The first one, unveiled recently, will replace the Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways is also working to streamline the Train 20 project which involves manufacturing aluminium-bodied train sets capable of semi-high speed. The final contours of the tender are yet to be finalised by the Railway Board, but the plan is to ‘Make in India’ the aluminium train sets with the help of a foreign manufacturer. “We need Train 20, as it would be an aluminium-bodied train with better energy-efficiency, improved aesthetics and maintainability and lower life-cycle cost. We have clarified all doubts raised by Railway Board. They, I believe, are examining the issues. Once we the go-ahead, we (ICF) would call bids,” Sudhanshu Mani said. “Since India does not have the technology and capability to manufacture aluminium profiles of the type we need, this project needs an international partner for initial rakes with smooth transitioning to Make in India,” he added.