New Delhi: India’s first semi-high speed train, the Vande Bharat Express, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday from the New Delhi Railway Station amid a sombre mood in the backdrop of the terror attack in Pulwama.
“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 hardwork in the last 4.5 years we have tried to improve railways,” the PM said.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal and members of the Railway Board boarded the train on its inaugural journey, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
At the New Delhi railway station, Modi inspected the facilities in the train, which can travel from Delhi to Varanasi in nine hours and forty-five minutes.
The semi-high speed Train 18, which has been recently rechristened Vande Bharat Express, can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph and has travel classes like the Shatabdi trains but with better facilities. It aims to provide a totally new travel experience to passengers.
It 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 equal number of coaches, thanks to shifting of all electric equipment below the coaches and seats in the driving coach also.
All coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, on-board hotspot WiFi for entertainment purposes and very comfortable seating. All toilets are 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 heat and noise to very low levels for additional passenger comfort.
Adding up the green footprints, the train has regenerative braking system which can save up to 30 per cent of electrical energy.
The Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, has been the force behind the completely in-house design and manufacture of this train which was completed in just 18 months. -PTI
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