India’s first locomotive-less train, known as Train 18, breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run on Sunday, a senior railway official said.
When this Rs 100-crore indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train.
“Train 18 breached the 180 kmph speed limit in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. The major trials are now over, with just some more remaining. Based on the reports, fine tuning would be done if needed. As of now no major technical problem has cropped up,” S Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that has manufactured the train, said.
“We expect Train 18 to commence its commercial run from January 2019. Normally the trials take three months. But now it is happening faster than expected,” Mani added.
If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express – a day train.
Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit, officials said.
The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal. On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled (engine-less) train was flagged off in Delhi by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani. With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.
It has aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power. The fully air-conditioned train offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under the carriage, so that more space is available on board, officials said.