ICF's 160-kmph 'Train 18' tests begin Oct. 29

The First set of the 16-coach ‘Train 18’, that would run at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, designed and manufactured under the ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai will roll out for testing on October 29.

“The first set of Train-18 would roll out of our factory on October 29 and will be sent for testing. We will hand over the train to the RDSO for further testing and subsequent induction into the Indian Railways. The handing over to RDSO will take place in the first week of November,” Sudhanshu Mani, General Manager of ICF, told DH on Wednesday.

Train-18 is expected to replace the existing fleet of inter-city Shatabdi Express trains.


The first set is expected to replace the existing New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express. Credit: Special arrangement

The train set will have a self-propelled engine like the vintage EMUs and has been designed in such a way to save diesel by dispensing with the power cars and about reduce electricity usage by 30%, thanks to the advanced regenerative braking system.

Mani said conceiving, design and production of Train-18 has been a very satisfying experience for the ICF. “We are very happy to have achieved this stage since this was the first time that we produced a train without any transfer of technology. This was truly designed and made in India,” he said.

SP Vavre, who was Chief Design Engineer, Elec. Design and Development Centre, ICF, till recently overseeing the production of the train, said it was a milestone of sorts in the history of ICF since this was the first time that the PSU has built a coach from scratch.

ICF officials said the train was conceived, designed and developed in a record time of about 18 months, as against the industry demand of about 3 to 4 years. The ICF is understood to have spent Rs 1,600 crore on producing the first set of the train, approximately Rs 100 crore for one coach.

The train, which is designed to accommodate a total of 1,128 passengers -- 78 in the normal coach and 52 in the Executive coach – will boast of passenger amenities such as onboard Wi-Fi infotainment, GPS Based Passenger Information System, plush interiors, bio-vacuum toilets, diffused LED lighting and charging points beneath every seat.


The train will boast of passenger amenities such as onboard Wi-Fi infotainment, GPS Based Passenger Information System, plush interiors, bio-vacuum toilets, diffused LED lighting and charging points beneath every seat. Credit: Special arrangement

The first set is expected to replace the existing New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express that takes 8.5 hours to cover a distance of 707 km from January 2019. The train was the first Shatabdi Express introduced in India in 1988 and the Indian Railways currently runs 25 such super-fast premium trains across its vast network.

On the tests by RDSO, Vavre said the organisation usually takes around two months to complete all its tests that are mandated to be done before the train is inducted for passenger service. “It is for the Northern Railways or the Railway Board to decide the tracks for the tests. The train set will be sent to New Delhi through rails as new trains are usually hauled by a locomotive,” Vavre said.

ICF officials said the second set of the train, work on which has already begun, will be handed over by March 2019. The indigenous trains that are designed to run at a top speed of 160 kmph will be free of locomotives since traction motors will be fitted underneath each coach to make them self-propelled, ICF engineers said.

Since all equipment are placed below the chassis of the coach, it leaves more space for the passengers, who will be able to walk across freely since all coaches are connected by fully sealed gangways with integrated bridge plates.

On the safety front, the Train Management System provided with the Driver’s Cab will ensure precise brake control and Automated doors Control. The Automated Plug Doors Provided on the coaches will open only when the train reaches 0 Kmph speed and the train will start only after closing of all the doors.

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ICF's 160-kmph 'Train 18' tests begin Oct. 29

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