The Vande Bharat Express stopped twice on Saturday morning on its way back to New Delhi due to technical snags, PTI reported. The “Train 18”, which can reach a speed of 160 km per hour, was flagged off on Friday from New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It was a case of skidding wheels after the train ran over cattle,” Northern Railway public relations officer Deepak Kumar was quoted as saying. “Engineers are looking into it.”
India’s fastest train had left Varanasi junction for its return journey to Delhi at 10.30 pm on Friday. After facing the snag near Tundla in western Uttar Pradesh, it resumed its journey at around 8.15 am, officials said. However, it suffered another breakdown after 40 minutes at Hathras and resumed journey again at 10.20 am at a speed of less than 50 km per hour, PTI reported.
Journalists and railway staff were on board. The train is scheduled to have its first commercial run on Sunday.
“This disruption appears to be because of a possible cattle run over,” Railway Spokesperson Smita Vats Sharma said. “The train was returning at night and cattle run over is a possibility at odd times.”
An The Indian Express journalist who was on the train tweeted that the train began making a suspicious noise early on Saturday, after which its wheels skid and the brakes jammed in a coach. Electricity went off in several coaches.
The train has a travel time of nine hours and 45 minutes from Delhi to Varanasi, including a stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Prayagraj. It is regarded as a successor to the Shatabdi Express. 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.