The Indian Railways recently roll out the country’s first fully indigenous built train – Train 18. It is now the fastest train in the country and has clocked a maximum speed of 180 Kilometers per hour (Kmph) in its successful trials. Officially named as the ‘Vande Bharat Express’, Train 18 is set to replace the 30-year old ‘Shatabdi-Express‘ trains on several routes starting next year.

Train 18 has been designed by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai within a period of 18 months.  Built at a cost of ₹97 crore, the train was flagged off by PM Narendra Modi after the budget session of 2019. The first train ran between Delhi and Varanasi, taking an estimated 8 hours to cover 755 km, according to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Its stops included Kanpur and Prayagraj in the planned route.

How is Train-18 different?

The Vande Bharat Express is an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) semi high-speed train and has received its clearance from the Electrical Inspector to the Government. The train was initially named Train 18 as it was supposed to start operations in 2018 but unexpected delays pushed the launch to 2019 instead.

Faster, engine-less and, as Piyush Goyal put it – “completely made in India”, the Vande Bharat Express has a lot in store:

  • It reached 180 Kmph in trials but is capable of a maximum speed of 200 Kmph.
  • Automatic doors along with footsteps that can be retracted.
  • WiFi inside the train for the passengers.
  • Modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, and provision of disabled-friendly toilets.
  • Rotational seats in Executive class. They can be rotated in the direction of travel if needed.
  • GPS based passenger information system.
  • Roller blinds and LED lighting.
  • Air-conditioned compartments -16 in number, out of which 2 are first-class coaches. Carrying capacity is 1,128 passengers.

Pocket pinch

While the train boasts of a range of features and facilities, reports predict that the fares could be up to 40-50% higher than the Shatabdi Express. Agency reports have estimated the following rates:

  • Executive class fare: ₹2,800 – ₹2,900
  • Chair car fare: Around ₹1,600 – ₹1,700

With a successful launch, the ICF is expecting an order of 10 trains within 2019-20. Will Train 18 indeed define a new generation of rail travel in the country?

Sources: The Times of India, Business Today, Financial Express, Livemint
Image Credits: The Hindu