The Rs 100 crore country’s first engineless train “Train 18”, developed by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai and regarded as a successor to the prestigious Shatabdi Express, was unveiled on Monday by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
Train 18, the first long-distance train sans separate locomotive (engine), was flagged off at the ICF premises by Lohani and would undergo trials in the coming months, ICF officials said.
The fully air-conditioned train, driven by a self-propulsion module, had the potential to become the country’s fastest train provided the infrastructure was bettered, Lohani said.
Five more units of the train would be produced by the ICF by the end of 2019-20 production year, which is same as financial year, he said.
The swanky 16-coach train will cut journey time by 15 per cent compared to the 30-year old Shatabdi.
“It is a matter of pride that India has made such a train for the first time and that too ICF has done it within 18 months,” Lohani told reporters.
“Within 2018-19 production year another unit of the train would be manufactured and four more units would be manufactured by end of 2019-20 production year,” Lohani said.
According to ICF, the train is capable of running at a speed of up to 160 kmph and comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration. The train is designed in such a way that passengers can have a look at the driver’s cabin.
Fitted with CCTV cameras, Train 18 would have two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each, whereas trailer coaches would have 78 seats each. It has diffused lighting, automatic doors and footsteps besides GPS-based Passenger Information System.
The footstep in a coach’s doorway slides outward when the train stops at a station enabling passengers to alight safely with comfort in view of the variation in height between a train’s floor and the platform.
Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.
ICF General Manager Sudhanshu Mani had earlier said the train cost nearly Rs 100 crore to build the prototype and subsequent production would bring down the cost.