HM to flag off inaugural run on Thursday
JAMMU, Sept 29: In what can be termed as a big gift to the pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi during the holy Navratras, the country’s fastest and world class train `Vande Bharat Express’ will start commercial run on Delhi-Katra route from October 5 and booking of tickets for the same is now open.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah will flag off the inaugural run on October 3 from Delhi while the regular commercial operations of this high-speed train on Delhi-Katra via Jammu route and vice-versa will commence from October 5,” said Chief PRO of the Railways.
Except Tuesday, the train will run on all days of the week and bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra to just eight hours from the current 12 hours, thus make more convenient for the pilgrims to visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in less time for paying obeisance, he added.
The minimum fare for travelling between New Delhi to Katra will be Rs 1,630 and the maximum will be Rs 3,015. Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm. Enroute, the train will halt at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the same day return journey, the train number 22440 Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from the Katra Railway Station at 3 pm to reach New Delhi Railway Station at 11pm.
Before starting its commercial operations, two successful trial runs of the Vande Bharat Express were conducted on Delhi-Katra route. The first trial run was conducted on July22-23 while the second and final trial run was held yesterday.
During the trial runs, the train took off from Delhi at 6 am and reached at Jammu Tawi Railway Station around 1245 hours. After a brief halt here, it left for Katra and reached there around 2 pm thus covering the distance of 12 hours in just 8 hours, cutting short duration by four hours. Thereafter, the train returned from Katra at 3 pm and departed for Delhi where it reached at 11pm.
During the trail runs, only the officials of Northern Railways boarded the train to monitor speed, timing and other facilities before its launch for the public. It was not yet clear that who would be boarding the train during its inaugural run on October 3.
Famous as ‘Train-18’ and commonly known as ‘Chair Car’, this high speed train was flagged off on February 14 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi between Delhi-Varanasi. It will now soon run between Delhi-Jammu-Katra, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah.
Pertinent to mention that including Rajdhani, journey from Jammu to Delhi in all super fast trains is covered in 10-11 hours but once ‘Train-18’ becomes operational, it will cover the same distance in seven hours, which will save four hours time thus making travel for Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims a lot easier and convenient.
Vande Bharat Express is capable of attaining a maximum speed of 130 kmph on Delhi-Katra route, which has been identified for this high-speed train by the Railway Board in order to capitalize on the high traffic volume, owing to the world famous shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. Earlier, the Vande Bharat Express on this route was proposed to run three days a week but keeping in view the demand, the train will now run on all days of the week, except Tuesday.
The Vande Bharat Express is not only fastest train of India but also one of the best world class trains with specially designed features. There are 16 coaches in this fully air conditioned train fitted with CCTV cameras and other modern features like adjustable seats, improved washrooms, automatic doors, WiFi and infotainment system etc.
To avoid damage due to cattle run-over, the train has been equipped with a sturdy aluminum-clad nose cover while to guard against stone pelting like incidents, a special anti-spall film on windows has been provided as safety of the passengers is given the top priority.