Lawmakers Seek More Vande Bharat Trains; Over 170 Requests From Different Parties Received By Railways


Cutting across party lines, Indian Railways is flooded with requests for introduction of Vande Bharat trains or adding stoppages on its current operational routes.

Over 170 requests from lawmakers of various political parties including, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) among others across the country, were received by the Railways.

While currently there are 25 Vande Bharat trains operational in the country, the Railways will roll out 75 more trains with seating facility and the sleeper version of Vande Bharat train is expected to be ready next year.

According to the Railway Ministry, it has received requests from ministers in central and state governments, including chief ministers and deputy chief ministers.

Additionally, lawmakers from almost all Opposition parties, starting from Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have made similar demands for this new popular train.

In a written reply to a question on the utilisation rate of these trains, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Parliament this week that the average occupancy rate is 99.6 per cent, indicating its popularity.

Though the fare in Vande Bharat trains is comparatively higher than other regular mail/express trains on those particular routes, passengers benefit from reduction in travel time and better comfort during the journey.

The details of requests from leaders show that while majority of the requests are from BJP lawmakers, three each from Aam Aadmi Party, CPI(M) and NCP; two each from Trinamool Congress, JD(U) and Bahujan Samaj Party, and 16 from the Congress party have been received by the Railway Ministry.

Kharge has demanded introduction of the semi-high speed train between Mumbai and Bengaluru. Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has demanded stoppage of Mysuru-Bangaluru-Chennai Vande Bharat train at Kuppam.

The list shows 10 lawmakers from Shiv Sena and another six from YSR Congress have also made requests for Vande Bharat train services.

In the long run, these trains with seating facility will replace Shatabdi Express and the ones with sleeper facilities will replace Rajdhani Express.

Six new Vande Bharat trains are ready and two of these will be kept as spare while the remaining four are likely to be launched soon.

Responding to a question on the selection of routes and high demand, a senior Railways official said a special committee has been set up in the ministry that takes into account, the waiting list for AC tickets in other trains, competing modes of transport on similar origin and destination, comparison of fare of other modes of transport.