Train 18, India’s fastest train, is all set for debut after getting green signal from rail safety commissioner. The chief commissioner of railway safety (CCRS) has cleared the way for commercial operation of Train 18. He gave the go ahead to run the train at 105 kmph on non-Rajdhani tracks and at 160 kmph on Rajdhani tracks. The Indian Railways had earlier planned to begin the commercial run of Train 18 before the commencement of Kumbh Mela on January 14.
The rail users get a surprise pack. More than the speed of Train 18, people are amazed at the speed with things have progressed and inducted into service in Indian Railways. There is an overwhelming sense of awe when people see amazingly different things happen when elections time come near.
Earlier, the Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG), a statutory authority, gave “regular” sanction for running the train. ICF has manufactured the first train and two more are likely to be out of the coach factory in the next two months.
Barely two days back, the EIG had given “provisional” sanction for running the train subject to certain safety conditions, which were to be addressed within three months; else the sanction would be withdrawn. The EIG had also flagged the “serious inadequacies” with regard to design and testing of electrical subsystems and had recommended that the “train must be kept under supervision of experienced supervisors and staff who have been trained in dealing with 25 KV AC traction system and sub-systems. The details of such staff and supervisors with qualification and experience shall be furnished before start of commercial operations.
The delay in the rolling out of Train 18 had exposed the ugly tussle between the electrical and mechanical division of the railways with both trying to claim one upmanship. The mechanical division, which produced the train had maintained that there was no need for getting approval of EIG while the electrical section was particular about it citing “safety concerns”.
Friday’s letter jointly signed by principal chief electrical engineer, who is also the EIG, and principal chief mechanical engineer said, “It is hereby certified that Train 18 is safe and fit for commencement of commercial operation.” Though this letter also has laid down the conditions, it said, “ICF may address the following (read concerns) suitably in due course to the extent possible in this rake of Train 18 and for future manufacture of such rake.”
Now with all the approvals in place, it’s a matter of days for the train to begin its first commercial journey between Delhi and Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. Railway minister Piyush Goyal had indicated on Wednesday that he would seek time from the Prime Minister for flagging off the train.