India’s first semi high speed trainset-based service will be flagged off tomorrow between New Delhi and Varanasi via Kanpur. Called Vande Bharat Express, the service will for the first time use a brand-new design.
The Prime Minister will flag the train off from New Delhi station tomorrow. Vande Bharat Express will cover the distance between New Delhi and Varanasi in 8 hours. This is approximately 45 minutes lesser than the current fastest train between the two stations. Vande Bharat Express will run five days a week. The service will not be available on Mondays and Thursdays.
Equipped with automatic doors, a modern GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, a WiFi entertainment system and several features, the train is expected to be a mascot of the ‘Make in India’ mission being pushed by the Prime Minister. While the trainset is capable of speeds of 160 kph, the commercial service will run at 130 kph and below.
Instead of the traditional configuration of coaches hauled by a locomotive in front, the service will use an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trainset. The rake was codenamed Train-18.
Train-18 was built from scratch in-house at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. The project went from a proposal to a commercial run in a record time of three years. Tests were conducted on the rake at up to speeds of 180 kph and the trainset was declared fit for commercial service within months.
ICF is set to produce more Train-18 rakes starting this year. These are likely to be used on premier day services between major cities initially.