The ‘Train 18’ is the country’s first engine-less train and is being regarded by many as the successor to the Shatabdi Express which was launched back in 1988. The Shatabdi Express currently runs on 20 active routes connecting the metros to other large cities. Once the Train 18 is launched and tested, it will be expected to take over these routes.
The 'Train 18' is aptly named as it was developed in 18 months. The train has a self-propelled layout, which means that it does not have a standalone engine and instead has propulsion systems in each coach. The prototype has 16 coaches with passengers having access to the driver's coach. The train will also be fitted with CCTV, central air conditioning, diffused lighting, GPS-based passenger information systems, two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats (as against the regular cabin's 78), and automatic doors with folding steps to make ingress and egress easier. The train will also be able to travel at speeds of 160kph, which is substantially faster than the Shatabdi Express which topped out at 130kph. This also means that once the tracks are fit to suit the higher speeds of the Train 18, the train will take 15 percent less time to cover the same routes.
The train is being built by Integral Coach Factory and is going to be unveiled on October 28, 2018. It will go through testing and trial near the factory for about four days, before it gets handed over to the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) for further testing. Once the trains get approved, they will be a real boon to commuters.