Indian Railways has decided to operationalise at least five pairs of Vande Bharat trains by the end of June with one between Puri and Howrah all set to be launched next week, reports News 18.
The railways has set a target to run at least 75 Vande Bharat trains by August 2023, to mark 75th anniversary of India’s Independence — Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Therefore, the Ministry of Railways had streamlined the production of the Vande Bharat rakes, and it is all set for the back-to-back inauguration of new trains.
First among these will be the Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat followed by the New Jalpaiguri-Guwahati train. Furthermore, there are plans for another Vande Bharat train to operate between Patna and Ranchi.
There is no official clarity on the remaining two routes.
First Vande Bharat For Odisha
Following the successful trial run of the semi-high-speed train between West Bengal’s Howrah and Odisha’s Puri, the 16th Vande Bharat train is expected to commence operations on 15 May.
However, the ministry is yet to announce the timing and routes for the premium train which is expected to cover 500-km distance in around six hours.
This will be the first Vande Bharat train for the coastal state of Odisha as well as for the South Eastern Railway (SER) zone. The demand for Vande Bharat services in Odisha has been long pending.
Earlier in November last year, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had announced that the Vande Bharat Express train will be introduced in Odisha in 2023.
The decision to introduce the train was taken after the entire stretch from Howrah to Khurda Road section was upgraded for a maximum permissible speed of 130 kmph.
Also, this will be the second Vande Bharat train for West Bengal. In December last year, the state had got its first Vande Bharat train between Howrah and New Jalpaiguri.
The Vande Bharat train on the Puri-Howrah route will be a boon for pilgrims and visitors heading to Puri, Lord Jagannath’s residence, the World Heritage Site at Konark, and Chilika Lagoon.
Currently, a Shatabdi train operates on this route with six stops. The train takes eight hours to complete its journey from Puri, while it takes 7 hours and 35 minutes to cover the same distance from Howrah.
First Vande Bharat For North East
The people of the North East will soon have a state-of-the-art Vande Bharat train to ride on, most likely by the end of May with the train operating between Guwahati in Assam and New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal.
While this will mark the debut of the Vande Bharat train in Assam, it will be second such service for the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).
Also, this would be the third Vande Bharat express train that West Bengal will get, with the first running on the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri route since 30 December, 2022 and the second train to run on Howrah-Puri route by 15 May.
First Vande Bharat For Bihar And Jharkhand
Along with Odisha and Assam, Vande Bharat is also set to be launched in Bihar and Jharkhand this month.
In a first for the neighbouring states of Bihar and Jharkhand, the Vande Bharat train is expected to run between the two capitals — Patna and Ranchi by the end of this month or in June.
The railways will work out the details of the train, once the train rake is received by the Ranchi Division of South Eastern Railway (SER) zone and the train trials are carried out.
The Vande Bharat will cover the distance between Ranchi and Patna in around six hours, which is a major improvement for the corridor, given that trains operating between the stations take over nine hours to complete the same journey.
Five Trains Introduced This Fiscal
The Ministry of Railways has introduced five pairs of these trains across the country, in the ongoing financial year. These include Delhi-Bhopal, Secunderabad-Tirupati, Chennai-Coimbatore, Delhi-Ajmer and Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Vande Bharat trains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Delhi-Bhopal Vande Bharat Express in Bhopal on 1 April. The new train between Rani Kamlapati Railway station, Bhopal and New Delhi Railway Station is the first such service for Madhya Pradesh.
Further, Modi on 8 April flagged off the Chennai-Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express in Chennai. It was the second train in the semi-high-speed class to be flagged off on the same day after the Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat Express, which rolled out of the Secunderabad Railway Station in Telangana.
Similarly, Ajmer-Delhi Cantt Vande Bharat Express — Rajasthan’s first Vande Bharat Express train — was flagged off on 12 April.
Redefining railway passenger experience in Kerala, the state’s first Vande Bharat Express between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod was flagged off on 25 April.
The semi-high-speed, fully-air-conditioned train service, covering 11 districts, links capital Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north of the state
Earlier, in January, Modi had flagged off Vande Bharat Express between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam.
Total Tally At 15
The first Vande Bharat (VB) train was flagged off on the New Delhi-Kanpur- Allahabad-Varanasi route on 15 February 2019.
Presently, 15 pairs of Vande Bharat Express are in operation over the Indian Railways (IR) network.
- Five VB trains from Delhi to — Ajmer, Varanasi, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, Bhopal and Amb Andaura in Himachal Pradesh.
- Three VB trains from Mumbai to — Gandhinagar, Shirdi and Solapur.
- Two VB trains from Chennai to — Mysuru and Coimbatore
- Two VB trains from Telangana’s Secunderabad to — Visakhapatnam and Tirupati
- VB trains are also operational on Nagpur-Bilaspur, Howrah-New Jalpaiguri, and Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod routes.