Railway infrastructure in the country will get a major upgrade as ‘engine-less’ Train 18 will replace Shatabdi trains in a phased manner, The Pioneer has reported. The ministry of railways has announced plans to invest Rs 905,000 crore by 2020 towards this project.
The world-class train is being manufactured at ICF (Integral Coach Factory) in Chennai, using 80 per cent indigenous components. It is a 100 per cent ‘Make in India’ initiative and will be manufactured in a record time of 18 to 20 months. The first prototypes of the train are ready.
The first stainless steel-made train set will have 16 chair-car type air-conditioned coaches. It will include 2 executive and 14 non-executive coaches. While the executive coach will have a maximum seat capacity of 56 passengers, the capacity of the non-executive class will be 78.
The railways has planned a plethora of features. According to CII, the proposed features of Train 18 include :
- Super-comfortable seating, concealed roller blinds and spacious luggage rack.
- On-board Wi-Fi and GPS-based Passenger Information System, for a smooth, safe and productive ride.
- Continuous windows for a better viewing experience.
- Diffused, energy-efficient LED lighting and halogen-free rubber-on-rubber flooring
- Zero discharge bio-vacuum toilets, with touch-free bathroom fittings, vacuum space for wheel chairs and disabled friendly restrooms.
- Special arrangements for accommodating wheel chairs and providing access in coaches.
- 3-phase propulsion system and jerk-free riding.
- The train will have driving cabs at both ends with less acceleration and deceleration time
The new train set will cost around Rs 5-6 crore per coach. This is 60 per cent cheaper than global cost of similar trains.
The initial plan to replace Shatabdi Express between Delhi and Bhopal by Train 18 has been dropped due to the model code of conduct coming into effect for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.