The government’s much-showcased Train-18 trainset faces a procedural question before its launch — whether the new system requires a clearance of an Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG).
The matter was flagged by the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS) who, while giving a conditional safety certificate, had said that the EIG clearance was needed since each car of this trainset has eight motors and a transformer underneath together drawing power from a 25,000 volt electric line.
The prevailing view within the Railway Board is that EIG clearance is not needed as rolling stock is legally exempt, and the trainset is rolling stock of coaches the electrical safety of which is duly inspected and certified by the top-level electrical engineering establishment at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, where it was manufactured. The trainset has also been certified by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation.
The Railway Board, as the ministry, takes a final view on matters like this. A Railway ministry spokesperson said that the Train-18 is undergoing “procedural evaluation” and will be launched soon after the evaluation is complete.
Railway officials, however, did not confirm whether this issue will hold up the launch, to be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Anything concerning Train-18 is being done at great speed so whatever is needed will be done on an urgent basis,” said a Railway Board source.
In another aspect of the newly manufactured product, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has highlighted that each coach of the T-18 has less capacity to load food than a Shatabdi coach. “It has space to load around a third of the food that can be loaded onto the Shatabdi,” said a senior official.
The Railway Board has assured the IRCTC that the matter will be rectified, probably by removing two seats, sources said. IRCTC expects that the food requirement of the T-18 will be that of the Gatimaan Express (Hazrat Nimamuddin-Agra), so adequate space to store food and serve on trolleys is needed, officials said.