Vande Bharat Express will be flagged off on February 15, 2019, by PM Narendra Modi from the New Delhi railway station. This ‘Semi-high speed’ train is a big tick mark for the ‘Make in India’ project. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced in his Budget speech that this train has three main aspects – speed, safety and service.
This is India’s first engine-less train which was developed by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. The project took around 18 months. The train set is said to cost about Rs 100 crore/rake, nearly half that of an imported rake. It will be operated on two routes – New Delhi to Varanasi and New Delhi to Kanpur and Prayagraj.
This is going to cover a distance of over 750 km between New Delhi and Varanasi in 8 hours, which generally takes 11 hours. This train will run at 160 kmph and is capable of touching speeds of up to 180-200 kmph. It is a 16 coach air-conditioned train with two classes of tickets- Executive and Chair Car. The Chair Car ticket from New Delhi to Varanasi will cost Rs 1,760, and the Executive Chair fare will be Rs 3,310, both inclusive of catering charges.
This train is equipped with facilities like automatic doors with retractable footsteps, Wi-Fi availability and CCTV cameras. It also has a GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats that can be aligned in the direction of travel. The Vande Bharat Express will replace the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express.