Train18 is Proudly Indian by Indian Railways
First look of the 16 coaches swanky train rolling out at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai premises and we knew the future is here! One of the most ambitious project of Indian Railways, Train 18 is here and is all set to conquer the hearts of the Indians. “It’s an indigenous effort and for the first time, such a project has been done by Indian Railways. We did not have any technology partners, which means a lot of money and that’s the effort ICF people have done.” Says Mr. Sudhanshu Mani, General Manager, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai exclusively to MachineMaker.
India’s first locomotive (engine) less train, "Train 18", developed by ICF and seen as a successor to the prestigious Shatabdi Express, was unveiled by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani in October 2018. The 16-coach semi-high speed 'trainset' built at a cost of Rs 100 crore per rake with 80 per cent Indian component has been designed for a maximum operating speed of 160 kmph.
Train 18- A Game Changer?
On being asked about the proposal and time-span to build the train, Mr. Mani said, “I found that the capabilities of ICF designers, engineers, staff those who procure materials were very good and showed a level of enthusiasm. I decided if I channelize all these things, then this can be done in ICF. I arranged for the sanction in April 2017 and normally such projects take two-three years Internationally, but we said that we can overcome all challenges and aimed for rolling out in 2018 and in exactly 18 months we were ready to roll out. That justifies the name Train 18. The train is on trial for two months and we should be ready for a commercial run from Delhi till Bhopal by February 2019".
Train-18 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. Every alternative coach is motorized, to ensure even distribution of power and faster acceleration/ deceleration.
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 beside GPS based passenger information system.
The footsteps in the coaches of the doorways are designed in such a way that it would slide outward when the train stopped at a station enabling passengers to alight safely with comfort in view of the variation in height between a trains floor and the platform.
All the equipment are below the chassis of the coaches leaving the complete onboard space for passenger movement. All the coaches are connected by fully sealed gangways with integrated bridge plates, where the passenger can walk across freely. It has aircraft-like bio-vacuum toilets for efficient flushing. Touch-free sensor-based fittings have been used for optimal consumption of water.
Train 18 is disabled-friendly! The driver cabins allow for wheelchairs to be rolled in from each end of the train and the trailing coach area next to the driver cabin has space to park wheelchairs. The toilets in this coach are also disabled-friendly.
Safety- A Huge Concern
Safety of the passengers has been kept in mind and kept on priority. Like Metro coaches, the doors of Train 18 will open only after the train stops. “We have designed a special undercarriage bogie, which can go up to 160 km/ hr in consultation with a European company. For the first time, such a bogie has been designed in India. Speed has never been the sole reason for unfortunate accidents. The train in itself is very safe for the commuters. This bogie makes it very safe for operations. It has coupling one coach to another which prevents the coaches climbing on each other. In case of any unfortunate collisions, the coaches will not climb on each other resulting in minimum injuries. It has got very good fire protection”.
There has been a lot of railway related collisions in the last few years, but the safety features on the train make it stand out from the rest.
Train 18- Paving a way for bullet trains at ICF?
On being asked, if Train 18 is going to pave a way for bullet trains at ICF, Mr. Mani said, "That is something which will be decided by higher corporation but yes we are always willing to learn and make high speed coaches as well because we have developed a capability now fully Make in India on our own.”
Competition ahead and innovative projects rolling out
With such an innovative project on the tracks now, do we see any competition in the mere future and quickly came the reply from Mr. Mani, “We do not see any International company match our price”.
With such a technology shift, we definitely look forward to more projects coming up with rolling more advanced trains on the tracks. “There are many many more to come and ICF is the place to do that.”
Train 20- Pipeline Project
Train 20, the next generation sleeper class trains that will replace the Rajdhani Express trains on the network, is another project handled by ICF. “Train 20 is an aluminum body train which is more energy efficient, lighter weight and more durable. But that is something we do not have the capability to manufacture in our country yet. We have to go for a bidding for that and to have an International industry as a partner who will build two three rakes abroad and then bring it here to train our employees. Once we learn from the partner then we can start working on the project. That’s a tender still under consideration.” Concludes Mr. Mani