Railway passengers complaining of train delays may be extremely common in India, but it was utterly surprising when Train 18, the fastest train of the country, on its trial run reached its destination - Allahabad junction- 30 minutes late on Saturday. The much-awaited Train 18, which started its journey from New Delhi at about 12:55 am today, reached Prayagraj (Allahabad) at 7:48 am in the morning, delayed by 30 minutes from its scheduled time. There were reports that prevailing fog conditions in the national capital region led to the delay in commenecment of operations of Train 18. As the temperature dipped to a minimum of 2.6 degrees Celsius in the national capital, several other trains, including Gangasatluj Express and Taj Express were delayed on Saturday.
However, Train 18 completed the 665-km journey in six hours and 50 minutes at a speed of around 110 kmph. This is approximately two hours less that what Rajdhani takes to complete the same. On its return journey, the Train 18 has departed from Alahabad Junction around 14:00 pm on Saturday and is expected to reach Delhi by 20:25 pm on the same day.
The commercial operations of the semi-bullet train will begin in January 2019 at a curtailed speed of 130 kmph, according to reports.The CCRS has given the go-ahead to run the train at a maximum speed of 160 kmph but 20 conditions have been imposed, including fencing along the tracks. For maximum speed of 130 kmph, the CCRS has suggested fencing at vulnerable points to avoid any accident.
Train 18, which is set to replace the Shatabdi series, has the potential to run between 160 kmph to 200 kmph and breached the 180-kmph mark at trials. As reported earlier, it will initially run between Delhi and Varanasi.
The gleaming, blue-nosed train comes fitted with amenities on a par with the best in the world - on-board Wi-Fi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points, and a climate control system that adjusts the temperature according to occupancy and weather.