India’s fastest train to start running on Delhi-Katra route next month

India’s fastest train reaching Jammu Tawi Railway Station during its trial run on Delhi-Jammu-Katra route on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
India’s fastest train reaching Jammu Tawi Railway Station during its trial run on Delhi-Jammu-Katra route on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Trial run successful

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, July 22: The country’s fastest and world class train `Vande Bharat Express’ will soon be running from Delhi to Katra via Jammu and vice versa twice a week as trial run of the train was today successfully conducted on the route.
Under the trial run, the train took off from Delhi at 6 a.m today and reached at Jammu Tawi Railway Station this afternoon around 1245 hours. After a brief halt here, it left for Katra and reached there around 2 pm thus covering the distance of 10 to 11 hours in just 7 to 8 hours, cutting short duration by three to four hours.

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According to the sources in Northern Railway, the train returned from Katra at 3 pm and departed for Delhi where it will reach tomorrow after an overnight halt at Ludhiana.
Since it was a trial run, only the officials of Northern Railways boarded the train to monitor speed, timing and other facilities before its launch for the public.
“We are hopeful to soon start this world class train for passengers on Delhi-Jammu-Katra route as there seems no problem with the trial conducted today,” said a senior officer of the Northern Railway while talking to media persons at Katra during a brief halt there.
Famous as ‘Train-18’ and commonly known as ‘Chair Car’, the 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 here that including Rajdhani, journey from Jammu to Delhi in all super fast trains is covered in 10-11 hours but once ‘Train-18’ be operational, it will cover the same distance in seven hours, which will save around three to four hours thus making travel for Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims a lot easier and convenient.
The train, capable of attaining a maximum speed of 130 kmph on this route, will have halts for around two-minutes each at Ambala, Ludhiana, and Jammu Tawi Stations, before arriving at Katra.
Even as the Northern Railway authorities maintained that similar trails will continue before launching this train on Delhi-Jammu-Katra track and also did not specify any time frame for the same, sources said that Vande Bharat Express is likely to start chugging between Delhi-Jammu-Katra and vice-versa from next month, probably around the Independence Day.
The Delhi-Jammu-Katra route for the India’s fastest train has been identified by the Railway Board in order to capitalize on the high traffic volume, owing to the world famous shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
According to sources, the Vande Bharat Express on this route is proposed to run three days a week – Monday, Thursday and Saturday. However, this could be extended up to five days a week, depending on the demand, sources added.
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 has been given the top priority.