On Wednesday, a senior railway officer stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will show a green flag, to the first engine-less train of India ‘Vande Bharat Express’ on February 15. Train 18, later named the ‘Vande Bharat Express’ by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, is an indigenous train and has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (IFC) in Chennai. Touted to be India’s semi-bullet train, the new train, designated to serve rail services like the Shatabdi Express etc, breached the speed barrier of 180 kmph without any hassles, making it India’s fastest train ever.
Train 18 is aims to reduce not only travel time, but also give a new level of comfort to the Indian passengers, who have consistently demanded better quality services from the Indian Railways. Some of the impressive features of Train 18 include the self-propelled engine, AC Chair Car type coaches, 360-degree rotating seats, Diffused lighting, automatic doors and footsteps, GPS based Passenger Information Systems, etc. Also, the normal speed of Vande Bharat Express is 130 km. / hr., which can rise to a potential speed of 180+ or even 200 km/hr if traffic signals permit. Earlier in a test run on a standard railway track, the train broke the speed barrier of 180 km/hr and remained stable.
Further, speaking about the flagging off ceremony, the Railway officer further added, “He (PM Modi) will also address people while flagging off the train”. Vande Bharat Express will be flagged off at 10 am from the New Delhi railway station, said the officer.
In its first voyage, Train 18 will run between New Delhi and Varanasi. The passengers will be charged Rs 349 for the executive class and Rs 288 for the chair car. They will be served tea with snacks and lunch/dinner according to the timing of their journey. Earlier, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal claimed that the Vande Bharat Express would complete the distance of 795 km in eight hours, 35 per cent faster than the fastest trains on route.
Moreover, Train 18 is one among the many fruitful outcomes of the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Modi government. ‘Make in India’ is the flagship initiative of the Modi government and is reaping dividends for the manufacturing sector of the country. The manufacturing of semi high-speed trains at less than half of global prices is the latest example of the success of PM Modi’s initiative. Earlier, Alstom SA, a French multinational operating in rail transport exported 22 metro train sets for the Sydney metro. The six-car train sets were fully designed and manufactured in India at the company’s plant in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.
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The Train 18 project is a major victory for the Ministry of Railways under Piyush Goyal, who are consistently seeing to it that the service to passengers is top notch and without delay. Recently, the eDrishti software was launched and it will help the Rail Minister keep a record of the punctuality of the trains. If this continues to proceed at the same rate, a time will come when the Indian Railways will soon be at par with Japanese and European rail services in terms of efficient speed and better quality.