Train 18, developed indigenously by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), will make its first journey between New Delhi and Varanasi, Railway Ministry officials said on Wednesday.
"The Train 18 will make its first journey between New Delhi and Varanasi, via Kanpur and Prayagraj after completing formalities," a senior railway ministry official told IANS.
"And once the formalities of trials are completed, it would be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
Train 18 is undergoing extensive trial and a few more trials are to undertaken under the supervision of Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow. It has successfully completed the trial up to a speed of 180 kmph.
The official also pointed out that the engine-less train, which is capable of running at a maximum speed of 200 kmph will cover the distance of 755 km in eight hours.
The official said that Train 18, which is self-propelled on electric traction like metro trains, will start replacing the existing train fleet of the Shatabdi Express next year.
According to the official, Train 18 will be the fastest train on the route as the current fastest train takes around 11 and a half hours to complete the same distance.
However, he refused to share the details of the actual train time-table of the train.
Asked about the fare structure of the train, the official said that it has not been worked out yet.
The official also pointed out that the Train 18 is likely to be introduced in the service before the Kumbh mela.
The new train has a number of features to enhance passenger comfort which include inter-connected fully-sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting, and disabled-friendly toilets.