India’s first semi-high speed train

Aurélien Sostaponti - 29/04/19

On 15 February 2019, India’s first semi-high speed train was officially put into operations by the Indian Railways. The train, earlier referred as Train-18, is renamed Vande Bharat Express and it has been deployed on the Delhi-Varanasi route (776 kms). This is a fully made-in-India engineless train and it is propelled through electric traction (like a metro train). During trial runs it attained a maximum speed of 180 kmph. It is currently the fastest train of the Indian Railways and will operate at a speed of 160 kmph covering the Delhi-Varanasi route in 8 hours (reducing by 15% the present travel time on this route).

Train 18 is manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Chennai, Tamil Nadu and the cost of the first train is INR 100 crore (~13 M EUR). The objective of the Indian Railways is to eventually replace the entire fleet of its Shatabdi Express trains with this new semi-high speed train.

The modern design includes improved passenger amenities; on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED cabin lighting, mobile charging points and an automated climate control system that adjusts the temperature according to the weather and occupancy of the coaches. Two coaches – one on either end – are provided with disabled-friendly passenger bays and disabled-friendly toilets.

Train 18 has 2 Executive Compartments with 52 seats each and 14 Chair Car coaches with 78 seats each. The premium "Executive Class" has rotating seats to match the direction of train’s movement. Ticket prices have been kept higher than those of the Shatabdi Express trains on the same route: the Chair Car (CC) fare is increased by 1.5 times and the premium "Executive Class" fare is increased by 1.4 times. Overall, the passengers will pay 30-40 % higher fares than they do for the previous Shatabdi Express trains.

Technologically, the Indian Railways did not have a self-accelerating train set with specially designed undercarriage for 160 kmph speed operation and multi-featured couplings. Developing motorized bogies with fully suspended traction motors and under-slung propulsion system was their principal challenge. The train is capable of a faster acceleration and deceleration rate which makes it much more energy-efficient, more maintenance-friendly with lower life cycle cost. Most of the major equipment like car body, propulsion system, interior furnishing items, bogies etc. are made in India. Import content is mainly in brake system, automatic doors, seats and air springs. In the long-term, the Indian Railways plans to manufacture some of these items also in India.

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Infrastructure, Transport and Industry (Industries and Cleantech) The Industries and Cleantech Department assists French companies in their international development strategy and promotes trade between France and India. In order to maximize commercial opportunities between French and Indian companies, the Department organises French Pavilions at a number of key exhibitions in India, as well as offering other B2B networking events and individual partnering services. The key focus of the department are the urban development (“100 smart cities”), the clean technologies (Renewables Energies, Energy efficiency…) and the industry (automotive, aeronautics, railways…). The Department provides expertise in : • Transportation (automotive, railway, aeronautics, naval, ITS) • Infrastructures (roads, airports, ports, etc.) • Energy  (Nuclear, Renewable Energy, T&D, O&G) • Cleantech (water and waste management)  &nbs

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