Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 February 2019 flagged off India’s first Semi High-Speed Train, ‘Vande Bharat Express’ on New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route from the New Delhi Railway Station. With the maximum speed of 160 kmph, Vande Bharat Express or Train-18 offers travel classes like Shatabdi Train but with better facilities with totally new travel experience to passengers.
Vande Bharat Express is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.
Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, a Railways Production unit, has been the force behind the complete in-house design and manufacture, computer modelling and working of the Vande Bharat Express with the help of large number of suppliers for system integration in just 18 months, in keeping with the vision of Prime Minister’s vision of “Make in India”.
Key Features of Vande Bharat Express:-
1. The train has been developed by the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at an investment of nearly Rs 100 crore.
2. Touted as the Next Generation Shatabdi Express, Vande Bharat Express is the first long-distance train without separate locomotive (engine) and is driven by a self-propulsion module.
3. It has an intelligent braking system with power regeneration for better energy efficiency thereby making it cost, energy and environment are efficient.
4. The train offers some features to enhance passenger comfort which includes inter-connected fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, and modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems.
5. It is capable of running at a speed of up to 160 kmph. It will cut travel time by 15 percent compared to the Shatabdi Express.
6. It is a fully air-conditioned train and is equipped with CCTV cameras.
7. The lighting is dual mode – diffused for general illumination and personal for every seat.
8. Every coach has a pantry with the facility to serve hot meals, hot and cold beverages.
9. It also features rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting, and disabled-friendly toilets.
10. The footstep in a coach’s doorway slides outward when the train stops at a station enabling passengers to board or deboard safely with comfort.
11. Adding up the green footprints, the train has a regenerative braking system in the coaches which can save up to 30 percent of electrical energy.
12. Speed, Safety, and Service are the hallmarks of this train.