Country’s first engineless train owes its inception to this UP man
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Country’s first engineless train owes its inception to this UP man

The 16-bogied and self propelled train is designed and built by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, but the person who spearheaded the entire project and conceived the idea of having an engineless train hails from Lucknow.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2019 10:38 IST
engineless,uttar pradesh,engineless train
Sudhanshu Mani, former general manager (GM) Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, who spearheaded project Train 18.(HT Photo)

The country’s first engineless train, which is set to take rail travel experience to different dimensions, shares a strong Uttar Pradesh connect. Indeed, the 16-bogied and self propelled train is designed and built by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai but the person who spearheaded the entire project and conceived the idea of having an engineless train hails from Lucknow.

On Friday, HT caught up with Sudhanshu Mani, former general manager (GM) Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, who spearheaded project Train 18.

What’s in a name?

Train 18 or T18—the name of the train was perhaps the first thing Mani came up with, saying ‘there is a lot in the name itself’. Mani said he conceived the idea of having an Indian engineless train in 1990s but it was in 2016, when he was appointed as GM ICF, he thought of giving wings to his 26-year-old dream. “Generally, it takes more than three years to design a train from scratch, as per international standards. In April 2017, just 19 months before my retirement, we got a go-ahead from the Railways. But the question that bothered all was if I retired before it was finished? However, the dedicated staff of ICF decided to build the entire train in 18 months, completing it within 2018 (before retirement). This made us coin the name — Train 18,” said Mani.

Criticism and nod

The idea of manufacturing an engineless train drew a lot of criticism. “Officials objected to the idea, saying why the technology can’t be hired from countries that already have engineless trains...,” he said. The coach factory first approached the ministry in 2016 and it was approved in the first week of April 2017. Barring aircraft seats, which are from Spain and China, rest of the train is ‘Make in India’. “We began manufacturing at the coach factory itself. But there were two areas, bogie design and interiors, in which we didn’t have expertise. We hired two consultants from Poland and France...,” he said.

First Published: Jan 05, 2019 07:17 IST