Exclusive: Engineless 160 kmph train to replace Rajdhani Express next year! This is Indian Railways big plan

Smriti Jain
Engineless 160 kmph train to replace Rajdhani Express next year

Engineless train to replace Rajdhani Express! After the success of Vande Bharat Express, Indian Railways is now looking to manufacture a sleeper version of the engine-less train for long-distance travel. This new self-propelled premium train will look to replace Rajdhani Express trains of Indian Railways. The first Rajdhani Express was introduced in 1969, and its swankier replacement is expected to roll out after over 50 years in 2020. The new sleeper variant of Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 will be manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, learns Financial Express Online. “The design work for a Rajdhani Express-style Train 18 is in process. We hope to complete it by year-end and get it finalised by the Railway Board,” an ICF official told Financial Express Online.

With the success of the Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, Indian Railways is now working on a 160 kmph-capable sleeper train set that will cover long distances and offer premium comforts along the lines of Rajdhani Express for overnight journeys. “Once the design is approved for the sleeper variant of Train 18, we should be able to rollout the new offering by middle of 2020,” the official told Financial Express Online.

Indian Railways took a technological leap with the introduction of state-of-the-art self-propelled Vande Bharat Express, a new train aimed at replacing Shatabdi Express trains and also offering a cost-effective and more eco-friendly alternative to the premium service. Vande Bharat Express is a 16-coach AC Chair car service with Executive and non-Executive coaches. Some of its most prominent features are; automatic doors with sliding footsteps, bullet train-style white exterior, European-style seats, bio-vacuum toilets, aircraft-like LED lighting. personalised reading lights, on-board infotainment etc.

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PM Narendra Modi flagged off the first Vande Bharat Express service between Delhi and Varanasi in February this year. The train takes 8 hours between the two cities, stopping at Kanpur and Allahabad (Prayagraj) enroute. Financial Express Online has earlier reported that four more such AC chair car Train 18 sets are expected in this financial year.

The move to replace Rajdhani Express trains with more energy efficient train sets that will cut down travel time on the Golden Quadrilateral is a welcome step. Indian Railways aims to upgrade rolling stock, tracks and signalling infrastructure on the Golden Quadrilateral, to allow for movement of trains at 160 kmph speed, and bring down the travel time between major metros to 12 hours.