Chennai: Train 18, India’s first locomotive-less train breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run  in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section on Sunday. In the process, the Rs 100 crore indigenously designed train has become the country’s fastest train. Train 18 is expected to replace the current Shatabdi Express – a day train, if all things fall into place.

S Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) which has manufactured the train, said,”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.”

“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,” Mani told news agency IANS.

Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided that the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit, Mani had earlier told IANS. On being asked  about rolling out a sleeper version of Train 18, he said,”We can roll out sleeper coaches as well. No major modifications to the train would be needed for that.”

On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled or engine-less train was flagged off by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani. With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express. It is about 15-20 per cent energy efficient and leaves less carbon footprint.

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/coach, so that more space is available on board.

Among the features that enhance passenger comfort are inter-connected fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting, and disabled-friendly toilets.

There are also emergency talk-back units, through which passengers can talk to crew in case of emergency, while CCTVs are provided in all coaches for safe and secure travel.

(With inputs from agencies)