In a significant stride towards bolstering rail connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated nine Vande Bharat Express trains today, with two services commencing on the South Central Railways (SCR). These trains are poised to link religious and tourist destinations across 11 states.
Inauguration Ceremony: Connecting India Through Rail
The inaugural ceremony witnessed the Prime Minister inaugurating the Vande Bharat train services connecting Kacheguda to Yesvantpur, and Vijayawada to MGR Chennai through a seamless video conferencing link. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also graced the occasion.
An official statement emphasized that these trains represent a crucial step towards realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of ameliorating connectivity nationwide and offering world-class amenities to rail passengers.
Transforming Rail Travel: The Vande Bharat Express Saga
The Indian Railways is not resting on its laurels, as it eyes the launch of a sleeper version of the Vande Bharat and Vande Metro before the fiscal year concludes next year. Railway officials have divulged that a non-air-conditioned push-pull version, boasting 22 coaches and a locomotive, is slated for launch in October 2024.
- Sleeper Version: Rolled out by March 2024, designed by Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF).
- Vande Metro: Completion by the end of 2023, to be introduced in January or February of the subsequent year.
Furthermore, two additional Vande Bharat trains will ply between the routes of Patna-Howrah and Ranchi-Howrah, and the twin cities of Howrah-Kolkata in West Bengal. These trains will be virtually flagged off by PM Modi.
Streamlining Routes: Travel Time Reduction
Preparations for the semi high-speed services on the Patna-Howrah route are already underway, accompanied by a robust initiative to strengthen the tracks on the Patna-Jhajha-Asansol-Burdwan-Howrah main line.
The new rakes designated for the Patna-Howrah and Ranchi-Howrah routes will be equipped with 25 novel features, as per officials. Notably, the train is anticipated to traverse a distance of 535 km in approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes, emerging as the fastest direct train between Patna and Kolkata.
- Travel Time Reduction:
- Rourkela-Bhubaneswar-Puri and Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram routes: Three hours.
- Hyderabad-Bengaluru: More than two and a half hours.
- Tirunelveli-Madurai-Chennai: Over two hours.
- Ranchi-Howrah, Patna-Howrah, Jamnagar-Ahmedabad routes: About an hour.
- Udaipur and Jaipur: Approximately half an hour.
Connectivity Enriched Across 11 States
The nine Vande Bharat Express Trains flagged off by the Prime Minister will significantly enhance connectivity across 11 states, namely Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Gujarat, with three of these states currently in the midst of elections.
- States Benefitted:
- Tamil Nadu
- Andhra Pradesh
- West Bengal
Inaugural Run and What it Symbolizes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first Vande Bharat Express on February 15, 2019, along the New Delhi-Varanasi route. This train, crafted at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory, stands as an emblem of the Make-in-India initiative, showcasing the prowess of Indian engineering.
The project to manufacture semi-high-speed trains in India kicked off in mid-2017, and in a mere year and a half, the ICF accomplished Train-18. It was subsequently rechristened as Vande Bharat Express in January 2019, underscoring its indigenously-made status. On the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section, the train achieved a commendable maximum speed of 180 kmph.
Conclusion: A Leap Forward in Indian Rail Infrastructure
The inauguration of these Vande Bharat trains marks a pivotal moment in India’s rail infrastructure development. With enhanced connectivity between religious and tourist destinations across 11 states, this initiative aligns with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of a more connected and accessible India.
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What is the significance of Vande Bharat Express?
Vande Bharat Expres represents a stride in India’s rail connectivity, embodying the Make-in-India initiative and showcasing Indian engineering prowess. It stands as a symbol of enhanced rail travel experience.
When was the first Vande Bharat Express inaugurated?
The inaugural run of the first Vande Bharat Express took place on February 15, 2019, along the New Delhi-Varanasi route.
What are the notable features of the new Vande Bharat Express trains?
The new Vande Bharat Express trains boast 25 new features, including advancements in amenities and travel experience for passengers.
Which states will benefit from the new Vande Bharat Express services?
The trains will enhance connectivity across 11 states, including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Gujarat.
Are there plans to introduce more Vande Bharat trains in the future?
Yes, Indian Railways is planning to launch additional Vande Bharat trains, including sleeper versions and Vande Metro, with rollout schedules projected for the coming years.