PM Narendra Modi Flags-off Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express

| February 15 , 2019 , 15:28 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off India's first ever semi-high speed train 18, the Vande Bharat Express, from the New Delhi Railway Station.

The Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and members of the Railway Board were present on the occasion and will be on board the train on its inaugural journey.

According to media reports, PM Modi said, "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 train will set its travel journey from Delhi to Varanasi in nine hours and forty-five minutes. This includes stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Allahabad where there will be special programmes.

The PM 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 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 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.

It has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which two are executive class. The total seating capacity is 1,128 passengers.

In Train 18, all the electric equipment has been shifted below the coaches which has made more room for passengers than in the Shatabdi.

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 a 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.

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Adding up the green footprints, the train has a regenerative braking system which can save up to 30 per cent of electrical energy.