Vande Bharat: Western Railway To Spend Rs 264 cr To Complete Fencing Along Mumbai-Ahmedabad Route By March To Prevent Cattle Runovers

The Western Railway (WR) on Friday said it would install fences along the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route by May next year to stop animals from straying onto the tracks and getting run over by trains, a move coming in the backdrop of the prestigious Vande Bharat Express hitting cattle four times since its launch on September 30.

Addressing a press conference at the railway zone’s headquarters at Churchgate here, WR General Manager Ashok Kumar Misra said tenders have been invited for the construction of the fences on the 620-kilometre-long route, which is expected to cost Rs 264 crore.

The third semi high-speed Vande Bharat Express, flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 30 between Gandhinagar in Gujarat and the country’s financial capital, has hit cattle four times so far, leading to minor damage to the aerodynamic nose of the state-of-the-art rake.

The latest incident occurred between Udvada and Vapi stations in Gujarat on Thursday evening.

According to Western Railway officials, the stainless steel fences will be a ”w-beam” structure at a height of 1.5 metres from the ground.

”We are going to install it (w-beam) at a height of 1.5 meters. The advantage is that people can cross it but not animals,” Misra explained.

He said Railway staffers as well as personnel from the Railway Protection Force are visiting villages along the tracks to speak to people in order to overcome the problem (of cattle straying into the way of trains).

The aerodynamic design of the nose ensures animals don’t get tangled in the underbelly of the rake after such crashes, Misra said.

WR chief public relations officer Sumit Thakur said the Vande Bharat service was running with an average occupancy of 130 per cent and has become tremendously popular with passengers.

The Vande Bharat trains are designed to ensure that there are no severe damages to them due to cattle run overs. The premium trains have replaceable cone-shaped cover in the front portion which is made of fibre reinforced plastic to absorb the impact of a collision with cattle, This cover costs the Railways around Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per piece and they are replaced within hours of a collision. The national transporter has a basket of around 10 spares for these trains.

(With inputs from PTI)