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India is set to get its first tilting trains by 2025-26. According to a senior official, 100 Vande Bharat trains are getting manufactured using the tilting train technology which enables trains to maneuver curves at higher speeds, just as a motorbike on a winding road.

The ever expanding Indian Railways sector that got Vande Bharat trains recently, is now set to get tilting trains by 2025.

"We will have tilting trains in the country. We will tie up with a technology partner for this. We will have this technology in 100 Vande Bharat trains over the next two to three years," the official noted.

It is to be noted that the Indian Railways has explored various options in the past regarding such trains, but has never finalised any detail. It also had discussions with Spanish manufacturer Talgo as well as the Switzerland government.

What are tilting trains?

Explaining how the tilting trains work, an official explained that as a train rounds a curve at speed, it cause objects to slide about. While it makes the seated passengers feel squashed by the armrest, standing passengers tend to lose their balance

Tilting trains have a mechanism enabling higher speed on regular broad-gauge tracks. They tilt while negotiating a bend or curve on the track.

"The design of the tilting trains counteract this," the official added. 

In India, the tilting trains will have a mechanism that will allow them to run at higher speeds on regular broad-gauge tracks.

How tilting trains work?

For the physics enthusiast, Sweden-based KTH Engineering Sciences has said, “The basic principle of tilting trains is to roll the car body inwards during curve negotiation in order to reduce the lateral acceleration perceived by the passengers."

When a high speed train approaches a curve int heir track, the passengers, luggage inside the carriage shift sides and become susceptible to lateral forces. Seated passengers get squashed towards the outer bend of the curve and standing passengers loose their footing. 

However, in tilting trains, passengers will not go through the same. This discomfort has been counteracted. This tilting train will employ a motion control technology that will help not affect the movement of passengers inside the carriage. 

That means, the design of the train will help the carriage tilt towards the curve in the track. This will therefore compensates for the force that is experienced inside the train, especially when its approaching curves at higher speeds.

Where are tilting trains operational?

Tilting trains are currently operational in 11 countries - Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, the UK, Switzerland, China, Germany and Romania. 

Does tilting trains cause motion sickness?

In a study published in National Library of Medicine, it has been revealed that some people might suffer from motion sickness or have the tendency to vomit in these tilting trains. 

The study was conducted on 8 healthy passengers travelling in tilting trains on a track with the most number of curves. It was found that while most volunteers said they had a comfortable ride, 10% of the subjects reported symptoms of motion sickness. A 55% degree of tilt compensation of the lateral acceleration instead of the normal 70% reduced the symptoms of motion sickness by 25 to 40%.

 

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