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Train 18, India’s fastest train, is running late; launch deferred due to fog

Train 18, which gets its name from the year of its manufacturing, was expected to run by December end. It is now likely to begin its commercial operations from January’s first week.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2018 00:01 IST
A congested route, dense fog and long journey hours are among the issues they have delayed the launch of Indian Railways’ fastest train.(Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)

A congested route, dense fog and long journey hours are among the issues they have delayed the launch of Indian Railways’ fastest train. A railway ministry official said the Train 18’s journey from Delhi and Varanasi will be at least eight-hour-long. It might be too long for a chair car journey that it is going to be, the official added.

Train 18, which gets its name from the year of its manufacturing, was expected to run by December end. It is now likely to begin its commercial operations from January’s first week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be in his constituency of Varanasi on December 29, was expected to inaugurate the train. He is now likely to flag off the train from Delhi.

The chief commissioner of railway safety has given the clearance for the train to run at a speed of 160-kmph. The railway board has to give its approval now before a file is sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for its approval for the schedule of the train’s launch. “We have all the clearances but the procedure will take time and commercial operations of the train are not possible in 2018. ... the train will change the face of the Indian Railways as it will be the fastest train of the nation’s biggest transporter. The finalisation of the route is an issue since we have to keep passengers’ comfort also in mind considering people might not want to sit for eight hours,” said a railway official on condition of anonymity.

The Train 18’s fare is also yet to be decided. The railways are likely to keep the fare slightly higher than the Shatabdi trains.

The train has rotating seats, which can be aligned in the direction of travel in the executive class. It also has modular toilets with the bio-Vacuum system, modular luggage racks with glass bottoms etc.

Initially, the railway will roll out two trains with 16-17 coaches. A plan for more trains will be finalised after the train’s launch. The Train-18 has quicker acceleration besides modern passenger amenities.

The train will offer automatic plug-type doors with retractable footsteps. All of its coaches will be provided with Wi-Fi, infotainment, and GPS-based passenger information system to keep passengers informed about the travel status.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 23:42 IST