India’s first engine-less train completes speed trials, thanks to PM Modi govt

A huge development and improvisations are gradually creeping in our country as the PM Modi’s government is already on a mission to transform the entire infrastructure of the Indian Railways. The future of the Indian trains will surely look far better than before.

India’s first engine-less semi-high speed train- “Train 18” was rolled out on October 29 by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and it is a matter of pride that our country has made such a train. It has completed speed trials on Bareilly-Moradabad section on Sunday. Now, high-speed trials will be conducted between Kota and Sawai Madhopur.

Credits: Rail Analysis India

“During the low speed trials of Train 18, a power disarray was noticed – technically called harmonics – which led to blowing up of fuses and activation of safety (systems) at (electricity) sub-stations and stalling of some locomotives in the section,” S Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that has manufactured the train, told IANS.

“After the test-run, the Train 18 was pulled by a locomotive to take it to Delhi as it should not run on its own until the Commission of Railway Safety certifies it,” the official said.

“Vested interests are trying to fail the train even before trials were completed,” he added.

Mr Mani said adding that after the problem was fixed, “the locomotives were promptly put back into service, the sub-stations were attended to and feedback was given to the ICF”.

He stressed that the onboard software for traction and regenerative braking were also tuned to get rid of harmonics.

“This was all done within a day of reporting,” he added.

“The train underwent the low-speed trials between ICF (Anna Nagar station) and Villivakkam, a distance of 1 km. Such a short distance does not permit higher speed build-up. However, many important systems were tested such as operations of brakes, interaction of the pantograph with overhead wire, familiarity of driver controls and high voltage tests to the extent possible at a speed limit of 30 kmph,” Mani said.

What’s next?

With a massive upgrade, these trains will eventually take over Shatabdi Express for inter-city travel. The commuters will enjoy a realistic bullet train-like experience.

Train 18 has a seating capacity of 1,128 passengers in its 16 coaches. The semi-high speed ‘trainset’ built at an overall cost of Rs 100 crore per rake with 80% Indian component has been designed for a maximum operating speed of 160 kmph, officials added in a statement.

According to the General Manager of Integral Coach Factory, Train 18 is easily capable of clocking 200 kmph considering the fact that the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals allow, Mani said.

The manufacturer of the trains, ICF emphasised that the footstep in the coach’s doorway will slide from the outside when the train halts at a station. This interesting feature is designed to make sure that the passengers experience a safe and smooth journey.

The makers have designed the trains in such a way that commuters who suffer from some kind physical impairment would be able to travel with ease. For this, special arrangements have been made for the differently-abled inclusive of space for a wheelchair.

This is the first long-distance train without separate locomotive (engine) and was inaugurated at the ICF premises by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani. It would engage in trials in upcoming months, according to ICF officials.

The fully air-conditioned train will reduce journey time by 15% compared to the old Shatabdi that has been running for 30 years. The senior official said adding that five more units of the train would be produced by the ICF by the end of 2019-20 production year.

Now, the Indian Railways will work on another project which is Train 20– the next generation aluminium-bodied sleeper class trains that will replace the Rajdhani Express trains on the network. It is expected to be rolled out by 2020.

Hailing from Chennai, Chaithanya G is the Managing Director of TheYouth. He has dedicated his whole life to reading and writing.