The newly launched Train 18, named Vande Bharat Express, was damaged again Wednesday when two cows strayed on track and got hit by the superfast train running at a speed of around 130 kilometres per hour, reports said.
Journalist Rajendra B Aklekar posted images of the mishap, which shows the nose cone of the newly launched train visibly deformed from the hit. People also reported on social media that the impact of the collision was felt in the first three coaches of the train but all passengers were safe. The incident led to the train reaching New Delhi 95 minutes late. It was on its way back to the national capital from Varanasi on its third commercial run, India Today reported.
The train has indeed run into several spots since its launch. On Wednesday alone, the to and from the journey of India's much-touted semi-high speed train was interrupted by three separate incidents.
Earlier in the day, during the down journey only, the train had hit a motorcycle at a railway crossing near Allahabad. The incident took place near Phaphamau, around 42 kilometres from Allahabad when a man was trying to illegally cross an automated railway crossing barricade. However, as he saw the train approaching at a high speed, he abandoned the vehicle on the tracks and disappeared. Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar told PTI that while the vehicle was damaged completely, the Vande Bharat Express did not receive any major damage. No injuries were reported in the incident.
The train was, however, stopped for 17 minutes after the collision.
The cattle hit also caused several delays as the train had to stopped for almost 40 minutes as the railway engineers examined the train for any possible sustained damages that may compromise the safety of the passengers. After this, the train was again stopped at Sarai Bhupat for 17 minutes around 10.23 pm for another inspection, and then one more time for 10 minutes to check the air pipe hanging, after which the train could finally resume its journey.
The Vande Bharat Express had left Varanasi around 3 pm, on its scheduled time, but it reached Delhi almost 95 minutes late.
Before this, during the down journey on the same day, the train some was pelted with stones near Tundla junction in Uttar Pradesh, causing damage to a few glass windows in one of the coaches.
The train was also pelted with stones before this during its test runs, once on 20 December 2018 and on 2 February this year, even before the premium train was inaugurated for commercial run. It had suffered damage to its window panes on both these occasions as well.
A day after its inauguration, the Vande Bharat Express broke down near Tundla while on its way back to New Delhi. The Hindu reported that the train was halted due to "skidding wheels and jammed brakes."
However, the Railways Ministry issued a clarification, "During the transportation back from Varanasi it was stopped at Chamraula station of National Capital Region, about 18 kms after crossing the Tundla station. There was an issue of communication between the last basic unit of 4 coaches and the rest of the train probably due to some external hit. Thereafter, safety features in the train applied brakes. The train was checked for faults and moved to Delhi."
The train, made indigenously at a cost of around Rs 97 crore, has been plagued by issues since its trial runs commenced in November last year. It was flagged off by Narendra Modi on 15 February. The first commercial run took place on 17 February.
With inputs from PTI