Train 18: India’s first engine-less train becomes country’s fastest train
India’s first indigenously designed locomotive-less (engine less) train known as Train 18 (named Vande Bharat Express in January, 2019), breached the 180 kmph speed limit during test run in Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. When this train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train. It is touted as next generation Shatabdi Express and will connect metros with other important cities.
Train 18 was rolled out in October 2018 at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Earlier in November 2018, Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) had announced its trial run successfully. During this trail on tracks in Moradabad division of Northern Railway, this train had ran up to 115 km per hour. The trials proved that train has defined track geometry parameters, curved alignments of specific radius and station yard zones. Major trials of this train are now over with just some more remaining. Once Train 18 becomes operational, it will commence its commercial operations from January 2019.
It is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit. It will replacing current 30-year-old Shatabdi Express – a day train. Thus it is touted as next generation Shatabdi Express. It will be first long-distance train without separate locomotive (engine).
It has been indigenously developed by Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in just short time span of 18 months. It took investment of nearly Rs 100 crore to build this prototype and subsequent bulk production will bring down the cost. Thus, it will be cheaper compared to imported engine less train.
With 16 coaches, it will has same passenger carrying capacity as that of Shatabdi Express. It has aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations. It sports advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
It is fully air-conditioned and offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under carriage, so that more space is available on board. It has soft lighting, automatic doors, footsteps and GPS-based Passenger Information System (PIS).
It also has onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, and modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems. Footstep in coach’s doorway in this train slides outward when train stops at station, enabling passengers to board or deboard safely with comfort.
Update: Vande Bharat Express
On January 27, 2019, Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal announced the name Vande Bharat Express for Train 18, acknowledging its made-in-India status. The minister also called it a ‘vandaniya’ step towards realisation of New India vision.
Category: Science & Technology Current Affairs