India's long wait for world-class fast trains may end this year only. As per news agency IANS report, Indian railways plans to launch country's fastest rail -- Train 18 -- by the end of this year on December 25. The train service is likely to be launched between New Delhi and Varanasi.
Indigenously-built India's first engine-less train breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run yesterday and according to railway officials efforts are on to launch the train on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday.
"Christmas Day also happens to be the birthday of late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and it would be a tribute to the great statesman of the country if we manage to launch the next-generation train on that day," a senior Railways official told IANS.
According to the tentative plan, the train will start from New Delhi station at 6 am, and is expected to reach Varanasi at 2 pm. For the return journey, the train will start at 2.30 pm from Varanasi and reach the national capital at 10.30 pm on the same day.
The fare for the train journey is likely to be higher than the normal fare. However, the official told IANS that the decision on its launch date and fare are yet to be taken as the trial is not yet complete.
After the successful trail yesterday, Railway officials said that completion of trails was happening faster than expected and no major technical problem has been reported till now.
" 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," the official said.
Now the Trainset has to undergo what is called a long confirmatory run and also test its emergency braking distance before it gets a clearance from the Commissioner, Railway Safety (CRS) for commercial operations to commence.
Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express. The train is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the other systems like tracks and signals support the speed. The ICF plans to roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.
The Trainset does not require a locomotive as it is a self-propelled on electric traction, like metro trains. 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