The third Vande Bharat (Train 18), also likely to be introduced on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, is ready for the final trial. On Friday, the newly designed rake left the Integral Coach Factory’s (ICF, Chennai) furnishing division for the 15,000-km static-dynamic-oscillation test before its induction in the Indian Railway network. However, the date of its arrival is not yet confirmed.
The third rake is reportedly not only energy-efficient but also has better passenger amenities and safety features compared to Vande Bharat trains running on the New Delhi-Varanasi and New Delhi-Katra routes.
On Friday, Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, visited the ICF and inspected the rake. The minister also spent some time inspecting the interiors, including the driver’s cab.
Sudhansu Mani, former general manager of the ICF, who created the first Vande Bharat, said he hopes that the seating in the economy coaches and the interiors have been improved. He said, “I also hope this rake, and the ones to follow, will be deployed on routes where its inherent USP of faster acceleration can be exploited to reduce travel time. Between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, it must be time-tabled for a journey less than five hours. Else, I would consider this increase in acceleration meaningless.”
Mani said that the ICF also needs to start work on the sleeper version of Train 18, which was started in 2018 but abandoned.
As per ICF officials, the new rake has a better acceleration/ deceleration capacity, and will be able to reach 160 kmph is just 140 seconds as compared to 145 seconds of the earlier rakes.
The new rake also has four platform side cameras, including rear view cameras, instead of the earlier two. They said it has better heat ventilation and air-conditioning control owing to higher efficiency compressor, and UV lamps for germ free supply of air.