‘Initially, the train will be on standby for Delhi-Varanasi route, which has witnessed 100 percent occupancy almost every day,’ a member of the railway board said
New Delhi: Vande Bharat, India’s first semi high-speed train, is going to get a body double so that it can be pressed into service whenever the original goes for a repair. Also, the alternate train will not have any of Vande Bharat’s faults that were picked on time and again by passengers, sources aware of the development said.
“We are confident of introducing the new train by the end of this month. Initially, the train will be on standby for Delhi-Varanasi route, which has witnessed 100 percent occupancy almost every day,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, member (rolling stock) of the railway board.
Vande Bharat beset by complaints
Even since it was flagged off on February 15, Indian Railways has been beset by complaints about the train — from the straight seats on Vande Bharat that do not adjust to a passenger’s posture, to noise in the cabin, to the location of the bottle holder, to the cumbersome access, to the washbasin, to the lack of a cloth holder in the washroom.
Stone pelting incidents
The train has also been pelted with stones so often by miscreants that Indian railways had to install cameras on the train’s exterior to detect and deter such incidents. On several occasions, it has also mowed down cattle straying on tracks.
The back-up train will come with improvements
The back-up train is expected to come with improvements that were missing in its predecessor. It will have adjustable seats and fully functional washbasins and will be pressed into service every time the old unit is sent for maintenance, sources said. Getting a back-up was necessitated by the fact that the schedule of the train does not allow time for maintenance work.
“Despite tight schedule and repeated damage, not a single trip of Vande Bharat Express has been cancelled and sometime we replaced the damaged glass within two hours to ensure the train runs on time the next morning. The new train will be kept on standby so that if needed, it can be replaced, and the old one can be taken for proper maintenance,” said a railway board official.