Testing for India's first 'engine-less' train today

Train-18, India's first engine-less train.

Train-18, the country’s first ‘engine-less’ train designed to run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, will hit the tracks for testing on Monday evening. Train-18 would replace the existing fleet of inter-city Shatabdi express trains.

The first set of the 16-coach train, conceived, designed and manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, under the ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, will be rolled out at 4 pm in the presence of Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani and ICF General Manager Sudhanshu Mani.

The first set of the train, which will have a self-propelled engine like the vintage EMUs, has been manufactured at a cost of Rs 100 crore and the costing could come down while making the subsequent sets. The second set will make its way out of the factory by March 2019.

The first set, which would replace the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express hopefully by January, will undergo tests for a week at the ICF after which it will reach New Delhi for further testing by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO).

The RDSO, according to officials, would test the train by running it at three different speed on various tracks under the Northern Railway -- Bareilly-Moradabad, Kota-Sawai Madhopur and New Delhi-Bhopal sections – in the next two months. If the train achieves the required parameters, it will be inducted into the Indian Railways after mandatory inspection by the Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS).

“The first set would leave the factory on October 29. The first set of tests would be carried out by the ICF here before it is handed over to the RDSO. After the mandatory tests and trials on railways tracks, the train will reach the Railways,” Sudhanshu Mani, General Manager of ICF, told DH on Wednesday.

Mani said conception, design and production of Train-18 have 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 have produced a train without any transfer of technology. This was truly designed and made in India,” he had said.

The ICF officials said the train was conceived, designed and was developed in a record time of about 18 months, as against the industry demand of about 3 to 4 years, for designing and developing of such type of new design coaches.

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 on-board Wi-Fi infotainment, GPS-based Passenger Information System, plush interiors, bio-vacuum toilets, diffused LED lighting, charging points beneath every seat and CCTV cameras.

The train set will have a self-propelled engine and will save diesel and about 30% of electricity, thanks to its advanced regenerative braking system. 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.

It 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.

Since all equipment are placed below the chassis of the coach, the train 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.

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Testing for India's first 'engine-less' train today

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