Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off India’s first engine-less, semi-high speed train from the New Delhi Railway Station on Friday, PTI reported. The indigenously-manufactured Train 18 has been named the Vande Bharat Express.
The train will travel from Delhi to Varanasi in nine hours and 45 minutes, including a stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Prayagraj, where special programmes have been organised. Modi also inspected the train’s state-of-the-art facilities.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was on board the train on its inaugural journey, said Modi has given permission to produce 100 more such trains, The Indian Express reported. “Thirty more trainsets tendering process has already been okayed,” Goyal added.
Regarded as a successor to the Shatabdi Express, the Vande Bharat Express can attain a top speed of 160 km per hour. The 16-coach train was built at Rae Bareli’s Modern Coach Factory at a cost of Rs 97 crore. The fully air-conditioned train has two executive chair cars. The total seating capacity of the train is 1,128 passengers.
All the coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system and onboard hotspot Wi-Fi. The train has a regenerative braking system, which can save up to 30% of electrical energy.
Speaking at the inauguration, Modi condemned the Pulwama terror attack, in which 37 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force lost their lives on Thursday. Modi said the security forces have been given a free hand and those responsible for the attack had made a huge mistake.
“The forces behind this act of terrorism and those responsible for it will be definitely be punished,” Modi said. “I thank all the nations who have supported us and condemned this incident in the strongest of terms. A strong reply will be given to this attack.”