Spanish high speed train manufacturer Talgo is soon set to lease out about 5 trains to Indian Railways, which will be commercially operated on Shatabdi routes. As per a report in The Financial Express, Indian Railways is awaiting a final approval of Niti Aayog before officially telling Talgo to lease out its trains to India. Once the contract is signed, it will take Talgo less than a year to supply anywhere between 2-5 trains. The train is likely to be of around 26 coaches each, so that the total capacity matches that of the existing Shatabdis on the routes.
The approximate price of leasing these trains is not known yet, since Talgo will have to purchase the coaches from existing international users. Manufacturing a new India-specific train will take a lot of time. Indian Railways is looking to ply these Talgo coaches as early as possible. So, Talgo will take the train from international customers and modify it for Indian needs. As per the report, three major changes are likely to be made. These are platform height, toilets and pedestals to ease platform train gap. Also, Talgo will refurbish these trains as much as possible to give them a new look and feel.
Since Talgo trains are made of light-weight aluminium and are about 45% lighter than the conventional coaches, they can run at higher speed on the existing tracks. Introduction of Talgo trains on shatbadi routes like New Delhi to Bhopal, Amritsar and Lucknow might reduce the running time by 1.5 -2 hours.
Talgo train underwent an extensive trial on the New Delhi – Mumbai route from May to August this year, and in a major success, completed the New Delhi-Mumbai trial journey in less than 12 hours! This is a four hours less than the Rajdhani Express which takes almost 16 hours to complete the approximately 1,400 km distance. Talgo coaches successfully clocked 180 km/hr during the trial run on Mathura-Palwal section. The fastest train currently in India is the Gatimaan Express, which runs at a maximum speed of 160 kmph between Delhi and Agra. Introduction of Talgo, which is expected to happen by 2017 end, will change the face of train travel on the select Shatabdi routes on which it will be introduced.