Train 18 named Vande Bharat Express: Goyal
New Delhi: Acknowledging its made-in-India status, the Indian Railways has named the indigenously manufactured semi-fast Train 18 as Vande Bharat Express, which will ply from the national capital to Varanasi, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to flag off the train soon. The 16-coach train, built in 18 months at a cost of Rs 97 crore by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. It's also the first locomotive-less train in the country.
Addressing the media here, Goyal said when it was conceptualised, it was named Train 18 and now it has been given a new name after taking suggestions from the general public.
"Train 18 will now be known as Vande Bharat Express. It's a train built completely in India by Indian engineers, in a span of 18 months. It'll ply from Delhi to Varanasi. It is an example that it's possible to make world-class trains under Make in India," Goyal said.
The train will be fully air-conditioned and will stop at Kanpur and Allahabad and will have two executive chair cars, the minister said adding that it will have superior quality of air suspension for comfortable journey of the passengers.
"It is completely made in India and various names were suggested by the general public but we have decided to name it Vande Bharat Express. A gift on the occasion of Republic Day to people. Will request the prime minister to flag it off," he said.
Goyal said he has requested the Railway Board to scale up its production to reduce its overall cost and once the country will have surplus production, it will be exported as well.
Meanwhile, an officials said that with all the safety clearances, trials and tests in place, Train-18 fares are likely to be around 40-50 per cent higher than the Shatabdi Express.
Officials said they have approached Prime Minister's Office (PMO) seeking time for the launch, which is likely after the presentation of the budget. Hinting at the fare of the train, the officials said that it will be almost 40-50 per cent higher than the Executive and Chair Class fares of the Shatabdi Express trains.
The Executive Class fare would be between Rs 2,800 and Rs 2,900 while that of the Chair Car would be between Rs 1,600 and 1,700.
The Train-18, built by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, has undergone extensive trials under the supervision of Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow. It has successfully completed trials up to a speed of 180 kmph. The train is capable of touching a maximum speed of 200 kmph.
The new train has a number of features to enhance passenger comfort which include inter-connected fully-sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the Executive Class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting and disabled-friendly toilets.