Train 18 is touted to be the successor of the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express and can clock speeds up to 160 kilometers per hour. After the rollout from Chennai's Integral Coach Factory, the train will be brought to Delhi on November 7 and would undergo a second round of trial run in Moradabad-Bareli section and final one between Kota and Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan.
What's in store
The semi-high speed train has 16 coaches. The idea was conceived, designed and developed in a record time of about 18 months. The industry average is about three to four years for the design and development of such coaches. The trainset will cost approximately Rs 1 billion per rake which is about half the price of importing similar coaches. Indian Railways has sourced 80 per cent of the components from the domestic market, adhering to the “Make In India” model.
Train 18. Photo: Twitter
The engine-less train has two driving trailer coaches with aerodynamic driver’s cab (nose cone) on both the ends which will enable quicker turn-around time at destinations. This feature is expected to cut travel time by 15 per cent compared to the Shatabdi. Moreover, every alternate coach is motorised to ensure an even distribution of motive power and faster acceleration or deceleration.
Interestingly, all equipment is placed below the chassis of the coach, leaving the complete onboard space for passenger use. With more space than traditional trains, all the coaches are connected by fully sealed gangways with integrated bridge plates so that a passenger can walk across freely.
In terms of passenger amenities too, the train is second to none. It would have onboard Wi-Fi infotainment, a GPS-based passenger information system, plush interiors, bio-vacuum toilets, diffused LED lighting, charging points beneath every seat and individual touch-based reading lights. The train would also have an air conditioning system that adjusts the cooling according to the weather conditions. Even toilets will be upgraded to disabled-friendly and be equipped with auto-sensor taps.
Train 18. Photo: Twitter
There would be rotating seats to match the direction of the train for executive class passengers, automatic sliding doors inside the coaches and modular luggage racks with glass bottoms. At present, the train has the capacity to carry 1,128 passengers, with more seats in conventional coaches than air-conditioned ones.
To ensure the safety of passengers, the train management system provided with the driver’s cab can exercise precise brake control and control automated doors. Automated plug doors provided on the coaches will open only when the train reaches zero Kmph speed and the train would start running only after every door closes. Automated sliding footsteps will form a temporary bridge between the train and the platform to prevent any accidental slip or fall of the passenger. In addition to this, emergency talk-back units are provided for the passengers to talk with the crew.