“Vande Bharat Express”, India’s first semi-high speed train, that will ply between Delhi and Varanasi, with halts at Kanpur and Allahabad, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on its maiden run at the New Delhi railway station on Friday 16 February 2019. This train is a ‘Make-in-India” Success Story as its major systems have been designed and built in India. It meets global standards of performance, safety and passenger comfort; yet costing less than half of global prices. It therefore has the potential to be a game-changer in the global rail business. The train’s interiors have the look and feel of a commercial airplane and aims to provide a totally new travel experience to passengers.
- Vande Bharat Express is culmination of ‘Make in India’ effort of Indian Railways into India’s fastest train to date, capable of commercial speeds up to 160 km per hour.
- Named ‘Train 18’ at the concept stage, it is a self-propelled train set and doesn’t have a locomotive.
- Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, a Railways Production unit, has been the force behind a completely in-house design and manufacture, computer modelling and working with a large number of suppliers for system integration in just 18 months.
- Vande Bharat Express has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which 2 are executive class coaches, with a total seating capacity of 1128 passengers.
- Speed, Safety and Service are the hallmarks of this train.
- All coaches are equipped with automatic doors, a GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system and on-board hotspot Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes.
- The lighting is dual mode, viz. diffused for general illumination and personal for every seat.
- Every coach has a pantry with facilities to serve hot meals and hot or cold beverages.
- Toilets are bio-vacuum type, similar to those on airplanes.
- The coaches have insulation is meant to keep heat and outside noise to very low levels for additional passenger comfort.
- The train has regenerative braking system in the coaches which can save up to 30% of electrical energy.
- It will complete the 780-km journey between Delhi and Varanasi in eight hours, slicing off 180 minutes from the current travel time of 11hours and 30 minutes.
- Its top speed would initially be restricted to 130 km per hour on the Delhi-Varanasi route.
- It will have two travel classes similar to the Shatabdi but with better facilities: the plush executive class seats that can rotate 180 degrees and chair car with adequate leg space.
- From Delhi to Varanasi, an executive class fare will be ₹3310 and air-conditioned chair car ticket will cost ₹1760.
- From Varanasi to Delhi, the executive class fare will be ₹3260 and air-conditioned chair car ticket will cost ₹1700.
- The fares are inclusive of catering charges.
- Train will Run on all days Except Mondays and Thursdays
According to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tendering process for manufacture of 30 more semi-high speed trains like Vande Bharat Express, has already begun and Prime Minister’s approval has been sought for 100 more such train sets.