Train 18 encounters technical glitches during first trial run, railway officials allege 'vested interest' trying to fail the train

Representational Pic

Chennai (IANS): Vested interests are trying to "fail" India's first locomotive- less train or Train 18, a top official said on Friday, adding there was nothing to worry about the glitches that occurred during a trial run.

"During the low speed trials of Train 18, a power disarray was noticed - technically called harmonics - which led to blowing up of fuses and activation of safety (systems) at (electricity) sub-stations and stalling of some locomotives in the section," S. Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that has manufactured the train, told IANS.

"Vested interests are trying to fail the train even before trials were completed," he added.

Mani said after the problem was resolved, "the locomotives were promptly put back into service, the sub-stations were attended to and feedback was given to the ICF".

He said the onboard software for traction and regenerative braking were also tuned to eliminate harmonics.

"This was all done within a day of reporting."

On October 29, the Rs 100 crore indigenously developed high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled or engine-less train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.

The train was later put through lowspeed trials to test its various systems.

"The train underwent the low-speed trials between ICF (Anna Nagar station) and Villivakkam, a distance of 1 km. Such a short distance does not permit higher speed build-up. However, many important systems were tested such as operations of brakes, interaction of the pantograph with overhead wire, familiarity of driver controls and high voltage tests to the extent possible at a speed limit of 30 kmph," Mani said.

According to the official, the high-tech train was despatched to Delhi for pre-trial checks on November 11.

"The train was hauled 'dead' by an additional locomotive since it was not certified to run on its own power enroute. Certification to run on all routes was given only after extensive trials.

"The current certificate is valid only for Moradabad-Bareilly and Kota-Sawai Madhopur sections. However, during its travel from Chennai to Delhi at full sectional speed all its mechanical systems such as wheels, springs, pneumatic suspension and pneumatic brakes as well as its dynamics proved themselves satisfactory," Mani added.

Train 18 reached Delhi on November 13 and was showcased to the media at the Safdarjung Railway Station the next day.

"The interiors were kept locked since they were loaded with sand bags in passenger areas to simulate passenger load. Also, due to its instrumentation, it could not have been opened to a large number of curious onlookers," Mani said.

Talking about the speed trials, Mani said medium speed trial of Train 18 will be conducted between Moradabad and Bareilly over the next few weeks.

"Vast instrumentation has been provided on the train by Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) for this purpose. These tests will certify that Train 18 is fit on all tracks of Indian Railways at a speed of 110 kmph," Mani remarked.

High-speed trials will be conducted between Kota and Sawai Modhopur after the Moradabad trials.

Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided that the rest of Indian Railways' system such as tracks and signals permit, Mani said.

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