Vande Bharat Express trains a hit! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways aim to introduce a new era of world-class train travel experience with the Vande Bharat Express rad of trains seems to have been well received by passengers. At present, two pairs of Vande Bharat Express trains are operational on Indian Railways’ network – one between Delhi-Varanasi and the other between Delhi-Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. Since the launch of these two ‘Make in India’ trains, commuting between Delhi and Varanasi as well as Delhi and Katra has come down to just 8 hours.
Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, informed about the average occupancy of these two pairs of engineless, self-propelled trains since their introduction up to 8 November 2019. According to the Railway Ministry, train number 22435/36 Delhi-Varanasi-Delhi Vande Bharat Express saw an occupancy of 115.71%, while train number 22439/40 Delhi-Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra-Delhi Vande Bharat Express saw an occupancy of 99.27%. The occupancy recorded by both these trains is inclusive of bookings done for en-route/intermediate stations.
The Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express runs for five days a week. The train starts journey from New Delhi at 6:00 AM and reaches Varanasi at 2:00 PM, covering the 770 km distance between the two cities in a record time of eight hours. On its return journey, the train leaves Varanasi at 3:00 PM to reach the national capital at 11:00 PM. En route, the train halts at Kanpur and Allahabad (now Prayagraj) railway stations for 2 minutes each.
The Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express leaves New Delhi railway station every day at 6:00 AM, except on Tuesdays to reach Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra at 2:00 PM. On the return journey, the train leaves Varanasi at 3:00 PM to reach New Delhi at 11:00 PM. En route, the train halts at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, Jammu Tawi railway stations for 2 minutes each.
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These two semi-high speed trains have several modern facilities and amenities including European-style seats, modular toilets, on-board hotspot WiFi, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, LED lighting, automatic doors, etc.