Vande Bharat Express, also known as Train 18, is the fastest engine-less train of India. The train is set to be flagged off on February 15, 2019, from New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be flagging off the train on the New Delhi- Varanasi route. Vande Bharat Express is the first ever engine-less train of India. Manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, this train is the first-of-its-kind to be manufactured in India. The train is equipped with GPS-based passenger information system, LED lighting, temperature control system, WiFi, and touch-free bio-vacuum toilets. Other salient features of the train include personalised reading lights, mobile charging points near every seat, and automatic doors. Also, Vande Bharat Express has European style seats and fully sealed gangways for easy movements. The Integral Coach Factory of the Railways claims that the train was designed and manufactured in a record time of 18 months.
The train has been tested on various routes and is finally going to run on the Delhi – Varanasi Route.
To know more about other routes and halts read below.
The train’s first run was conducted on October 29, 2018, in Chennai. Later, slow speed testing was conducted in Delhi, UP and Rajasthan. It was determined that the operational speed of the train can reach up to 180 kilometres per hour. But, as the major portion of the tracks of the Indian Railways cannot be operated at such high speed, only some routes are finalised for the train. They are –
New Delhi – Varanasi Route
The Vande Bharat Express will be covering a distance of around 800 kilometres. It will be replacing the Shatabdi Express running on the same route. The train is expected to run at a speed of 180 kilometres per hour and take halt only at two stations – Kanpur (at 10:20 AM) and Prayagraj (12:25 PM). As per the normal schedule, the train will be leaving the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 in the morning and will be reaching its destination at Varanasi at 2 pm. On the way back, the train will be leaving Varanasi at 3 pm on the same day and will reach Delhi by 11 at night. Vande Bharat Express will run for five days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday and Thursday are reserved for the maintenance of the self-propelled train.
Ticket cost of Vande Bharat Express: There are two types of seats available in the Vande Bharat Express – Executive Seats and Chair Car. The cost of the chair car is Rs. 1,760 while the cost of executive seats is Rs. 3,310 (from Delhi to Varanasi).
Food: From New Delhi-Varanasi: Rs. 344 – Chair Car, Rs. 399 (Executive Class)
From Varanasi – New Delhi: Rs. 288 – Chair Car, Rs. 349 (Executive Class)
New Delhi – Habibganj Route
Another train which is supposed to launched in March 2019, will be running on the New Delhi – Habibganj Route. Habibganj station will be the first world-class transit hub of India. It is the first railway station which is being redeveloped under the public-private partnership (PPP). Along with cafes and food plaza, there will be a plush waiting lounge for passengers. An exit underpass will also be made for deboarding the trains. Basically, the railway station will have an airport-like concourse area. The route of the train is yet to be finalised. Well, it is assumed that the Vande Bharat Express will follow the same route as that of Shatabdi. The stations included in the Shatabdi route are:
- New Delhi
- Agra Cantt
Currently, the Indian Railways operates 23 Shatabdi Express in India. It is assumed that all these trains will be replaced by the Vande Bharat Express covering the same routes as that of Shatabdi.
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