Train 18, Indian Railways’ first semi-high speed engine-less train, will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 December on the Delhi-Varanasi route, reports Financial Express. The indigenously designed and built train will be the fastest on India’s tracks.
Train 18 is manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai and has been tested at speeds of up to 180 km/hour on the Delhi Rajdhani route. However, its operational speed will be restricted to 160 km/hour.
As per an official, “Train 18 will be flagged off on December 29 by the Prime Minister on the Delhi-Varanasi route. The venue of the flag off has not yet been decided, whether it will be Delhi or Varanasi.”
Coaches of the train have a white and blue exterior, and the interior has a modern state of the art design. Train 18 also has an underslung propulsion system and comes equipped with automatic doors with sliding footsteps.
The next-generation train also boasts of an advanced level of passenger amenities like personalised reading lights, modular bio-vacuum toilets, cushioned luggage racks, as well as rotating seats in the executive class.
It is expected that the train will reduce travel time for railway passengers by around 15-20 per cent, a major overhaul even before the completion of India’s bullet train project.
The current name of the train stems from the year of its manufacture, but the Railway Ministry is reportedly looking for a name-change in the future.
Train 18 is ultimately expected to replace India’s ageing Shatabdi fleet, and the Railway Ministry has directed ICF Chennai to hasten the manufacturing of more units of the train. Two more sets of the train could be manufactured in the current financial year, with the number rising to eight in 2019-20.