New Delhi: As Thursday’s terror attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed more than 40 soldiers cast a shadow over the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Vande Bharat Express, India’s first engineless train, from New Delhi railway station, without any flower decorations. A two-minute silence was also observed in remembrance of the paramilitary soldiers who lost their lives in the deadliest attack in decades on security forces in the disputed region.
Vande Bharat Express is expected to cover the 750 kilometres distance between New Delhi and Varanasi in eight hours, clocking a maximum speed of up to 160 kmph. The train, formerly called Train 18, is set to be operational on all days except Mondays and Thursdays.
The Prime Minister flagged off the train after chairing an emergency Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meet on Friday morning that discussed the attack in Pulwama.
What’s special about the train?
All coaches of Vande Bharat Express are equipped with GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, automatic doors, onboard Wi-Fi hotspot systems and highly comfortable seats. The toilets are bio-vacuum type. The train, with a seating capacity of 1,128 passengers, has 16 air-conditioned coaches, out of which, two are executive class coaches.
The train can save up to 30 percent of electricity through the regenerative braking system installed in its coaches. However, the fares of the train have been kept higher than Shatabdi Express.