India's first locomotive-less train or Train 18 on Sunday breached the 180km/h speed limit during a test run, a top official said here.
In the process, the Rs1 billion (Dh52 million) indigenously designed train has become the country's fastest train.
"Train 18 breached the 180 km/h speed limit in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. The major trials are now over with just some more remaining.
180km/hMaximum limit of India's indigenously designed train, in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section
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, told IANS on Sunday.
"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 added.
If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express - a day train.
Train 18 is capable of touching 200km/h provided that the rest of Indian Railways' system such as tracks and signals permit, Mani had earlier told IANS.
Queried 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."
The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
On the export potential, he said, first the domestic demand will be met and then the overseas market would be look at.
"The overseas demand depends on the kind of rail tracks they have. Medium income countries can certainly buy this train," Mani said.
On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled or engine-less train was flagged off here 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.
Officials said the train was conceived, designed and developed in about 18 months' time as against the industry norm of about four years.
It has an aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
According to the ICF, every alternative coach is motorised, to ensure even distribution of power and faster acceleration or deceleration.
The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
Mani also said 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:
- 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
- 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.