Recently, Union Minister Piyush Goyal shared a video of indigenously built Train-18 on Twitter. The video showed the Train-18 zooming past at an incredible speed. However, soon after the video was shared, some people on social media called the footage a doctored one and raise questions on the ability of the Train-18. Many people, who had earlier ridiculed the indigenous train project, claimed that the video substantiates the fact that Train-18’s claimed speed is concocted. However, the GM of ICF and the project in-charge of the Train-18,Sudhanshu Mani, quelled the rumors around the speed of the train. He had shared the original video on 2nd February. The same video was later shared by Minister Piyush Goyal.
Heard that Train 18 may go into comml service on 4th…wd be another first for ICF as a new rolling stock would go straight into service without field trials in inferior services..task cut out for ICF/NR..it's beyond Engg. logic to hope that there would be no teething troubles pic.twitter.com/ipOd7mw62I
— ManiSudhanshu (@ManiSudhanshu58) February 2, 2019
Challenging those who had questioned the authenticity of the video, Sudhanshu Mani tweeted on 11th February, “I was in charge of the Train 18 project as the then GM of ICF…all those who doubt its entirely Indian concept to design to engineer to manufacture to 180 km/h test story are welcome to check with me on +919591445790…even compulsive doubting thomases and troll masters welcome (sic).”
I was in charge of the Train 18 project as the then GM of ICF…all those who doubt its entirely Indian concept to design to engineer to manufacture to 180 km/h test story are welcome to check with me on +919591445790…even compulsive doubting thomases and troll masters welcome
— ManiSudhanshu (@ManiSudhanshu58) February 11, 2019
Furthermore, during the trial runs of the Train-18, the train had shown the capability of going beyond 180kmph. In a profile piece on the brains behind the Train-18 in Economic Times, it was reported that the train had achieved 180kmph speed during the trial runs.
High-speed trials were conducted between Kota and Sawai Modhopur after the Moradabad trials. These trials were done at maximum speed of 180 kmph and certified 180kmph operational capability of the train apart from safety features and reliability at this speed. According to the ICF, this train by itself is capable of 200 kmph speed, provided that the rest of Indian Railways system such as tracks and signals are permitted.
The ‘Make in India’ effort of Indian Railways which has culminated into a world-class train termed the ‘Train-18’, is under attack from vested interests. The impact of this train, matching global standards of performance, safety and passenger comfort and yet costing less than half of global prices, has the potential to cause major upheaval in the world train business. It has also adversely impacted the interests of the individuals and groups within the country, who seem to be more interested in imports than developing in-house expertise. It is noteworthy that that Railway Gazette, an International Rail Publication, has covered Train-18 in detail in its news on 23.10.2018. Yet the naysayers within the country do not like it. Just like ISRO which brought about a revolution in the satellite launch business across the world with its low cost yet highly reliable technology, the indigenous design of the Integral Coach Factory has the potential to shake up the high-speed train-building industry of the world. This train, though designed for a maximum speed of 180kmph has the potential to go up to 200kmph if matching track, Over Head Equipment and signaling infrastructure is in place.
As is evident, there is no question about the speed capability of the Train-18, now known as Vande Bharat Express. The doubts raised by some are nothing but attempt to undermine a Made-in-India success program.