Here is the transcript and summary of Sudhanshu Mani’s talk titled “The Journey of Train 18” at TEDxHyderabad conference.
Listen to the audio version there:
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m here to tell you the story of the first indigenous semi-high speed train built in India. This was a homegrown product, a rolling stock, a railway vehicle from concept to design, to engineer, to manufacture to validation and testing done entirely by a team of Chennai railwaymen. This is not the story of one man, this is the story of a Chennai team which has showed to the world that India can also do it.
I come to you as a railwayman for life. Indian railways have a long 170-year-old history and legacy, lot of romance, the fight for that window seat through which the marvel of Indian way of life, the magic of India passed you by. Lifeline of the nation as they say, but I’m not here to talk to you about that romance. I’m going to talk to you about this.
As a young boy and as a railwayman, I always wondered why our trains for last 50, 60, 70 years look the same, and why not a modern train set with higher speed, more comfort and better aesthetics.
Well, what’s a modern train set? You are familiar with a train which has a number of coaches and a locomotive on either end. They get coupled and decoupled as per requirement and destination for maintenance. But a modern train set is a number of coaches permanently coupled together and all the equipment for powering, air conditioning, lighting and what have you is all placed on the train. There is no locomotive.
Now, it has many advantages. It has redundancy, comfort, it is more efficient, the maintainability is better. Added to that, we have this reversal problem in other coaches. This train can reverse itself. Since you can pack more equipment on the train, it has more power, more speed and more acceleration and more deceleration as well.