India Markets closed

Train 18: Why the launch of Indian Railways fastest engine-less train between Delhi-Varanasi is taking time

Devanjana Nag

Train 18: Just before the official flagging off of the ‘Shatabdi killer’ Train 18, the new trainset is reportedly facing a procedural question on whether it needs clearance from the Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG). According to an IE report, the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS), while giving a conditional safety certificate, has said that since each car of Train 18 has 8 motors and a transformer underneath together drawing power from an electric line of 25,000 volts, the EIG clearance is needed. The view of the Railway Board is that the clearance from EIG is not required as rolling stock is legally exempt and the electrical safety of the coaches has been duly inspected as well as certified by the top-level electrical engineering establishment at the ICF (Integral Coach Factory) in Chennai, where the trainset has been manufactured. The self-propelled Train 18 set has also been certified by the RDSO (Research Designs and Standards Organisation).

However, according to a Railway Ministry spokesperson quoted in the report, at present, Train 18 is undergoing procedural evaluation and once that is complete, the train will be launched soon. However, it is not yet confirmed if this issue will hold up the inauguration of the train, which is to be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A Railway Board source was quoted in the report saying that anything concerning the launch of the new train is being carried out at great speed.

Meanwhile, IRCTC sources informed Financial Express Online that Train 18 is likely to have a Gatimaan Express-style menu for its passengers. According to them, the fare of Train 18 has not been decided yet. If Train 18’s fare structure is similar to that of Gatimaan Express, then IRCTC will be able to offer an elaborate menu to passengers, the sources said. On the other hand, it has also been said that the new Train 18 rake has less space to keep food supplies, if such an extensive menu has to be offered. The issue has been conveyed to the Railway Board and the subsequent rake, which will address this constraint is likely to be rolled out in February.

Train 18, also India’s fastest at 180 kmph, will ply between Delhi and Varanasi, covering the over 750-km distance in around 8 hours.