The first ever of its kind in India – an engine less “Make in India” success- Train 18 cannot run on the tracks freely as only 0.3% of the total Indian railway tracks are fit for it which runs at 160 kmph speeds.
Railways is looking to press its newly manufactured self-propelled Train 18 into service by year-end. The entire Indian Railways network is spread over 60,000 km. Train 18, which has been designed to run at a speed of 160 km per hour, has completed its first stage of trials in Moradabad division. Now, for trials at the speed of up to 160 km per hour, the train has been moved to the Kota division in Rajasthan. Here, it will be tested on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani route at speeds of around 176 kmph, sources told Financial Express Online.
Meanwhile, the daily’s report also stated that a cabinet note is being finalized by Indian Railways for converting the routes from Delhi to Mumbai and Delhi to Howrah into corridors to overcome the infrastructure problems for running trains at the speed of 160 km per hour. The project, worth Rs 18,000 crore will include building of walls along the corridors, changing train engines, removal of level crossings as well as introducing automatic train protection devices.
A railway official was quoted in the report saying that so far, six corridors have been prioritized, which Indian Railways calls the Golden Quadrilateral as they carry 58 per cent of the freight traffic and 52 per cent of the passenger traffic, but account only for 16 per cent of the total network. At present, only 5 per cent of the Indian Railways network is fit for trains with speeds up to 130 km per hour and only 0.3 percent railway tracks are fit for 160 km per hour operations, while coaches and locos are compatible to run at that speed, the official said.
According to officials quoted in the report, four other corridors – Chennai-Delhi, Mumbai-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Mumbai, which cover 10,000 km are also required to be made fit for operations of trains with speeds up to 160 km per hour. Another official was quoted saying that the 1,384 km long Delhi-Mumbai corridor has as many as 431 level crossings, which need to be removed. He further said that there will be 2 to 3 metre high fencing along the corridor. On the other hand, the Delhi-Howrah corridor is 1,455 km long.