Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi India’s flagged of first semi-high-speed train, Vande Bharat Express on Friday from the New Delhi Railway Station.
The event was also attended by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and members of the Railway Board.
“I am grateful to designers and engineers behind Vande Bharat Express which will take its first trip from Delhi to Varanasi today. With our sincerity and hard work in the last 4.5 years we have tried to improve railways,” the PM said.
Vande Bharat will travel from Delhi to Varanasi in 9 hours and 45 minutes. This includes stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Allahabad where there will be special programmes.
Modi inspected the train and said he was proud that such a train had been produced indigenously at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai in 18 months.
The semi-high speed Vande Bharat which was earlier called Train 18 has can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph and has travel classes like Shatabdi trains but with better facilities. It aims to provide a totally new travel experience to passengers.
The bookings for the train have begun and it will run commercially from February 17 from Delhi to Varanasi five days a week.
The train has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which two are executive class. The total seating capacity is 1,128 passengers. It is much more than the conventional Shatabdi rakes of an equal number of coaches, thanks to shifting of all electric equipment below coaches and seats in the driving coach also.
All the coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard hotspot WiFi for entertainment purposes and very comfortable seating. All toilets are the bio-vacuum type. The lighting is dual mode, that is diffused for general illumination and personal for every seat.
Every coach has a pantry facility to serve hot meals and, hot and cold beverages. The insulation is meant to keep the heat and noise to very low levels for additional passenger comfort.
Adding up the green footprints, Vande Bharat has a regenerative braking system which can save up to 30 percent of electrical energy.