The country's first engine-less train, widely regarded as the success to the Shatabdi Express will hit the tracks on October 29. Known as Train 18, this train is run by a self-propulsion module without a separate engine. The train is capable of running at a speed of 160 kmph and comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration.
The plush 16-coach train without a locomotive is said to cut time travel by 15 per cent as compared to the Shatabdi that has been serving as one of India premier trains for 30 years.
Train 18 was developed by Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory in 18 months. The prototype of the train cost nearly Rs 100 crore to build as mentioned by ICF General Manager Sudhanshu Mani, adding that the subsequent units will bring down the cost. The coach has been designed in such a manner that it allows passengers to take a look at the driver's cabin.
"It will be unveiled on October 29, then it will do three to four days of trial outside the factory and then will be handed over to Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) for further trials," said Mani.
The self-propelled Train 18 is fitted with CCTV cameras, and has two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each. Trailer coaches will have 78 coaches each. It is also fitted with diffused lighting, automatic doors and GPS-based Passenger Information System.
There are automatic footsteps as well that emerge as the train stops at a railway station enabling passengers to board the train safely.
The potential speed of the train is 160 kmph as compared to Shatabdi's 130 kmph. Once the tracks are fit to suit Train 18's speed, it would reduce travel time by 15 per cent as compared to Shatabdi. The Shatabdi Express was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.