Vande Bharat Express: 46 Services Operational Now On Electrified Rail Networks Across Country; 2,520,370 Passengers As Of June 2023

Arun Kumar Das

Jun 30, 2023, 09:10 AM | Updated 09:10 AM IST

A Vande Bharat Train on electrified route. (Representative image).
A Vande Bharat Train on electrified route. (Representative image).
  • 23 Vande Bharat trains with 46 services are operational now on electrified rail networks across the country, having made 2,140 trips with 2,520,370 passengers, as of June 2023.
  • The Railways aims to soon make their mark in the remaining few states/UTs, once the rail network is electrified.
  • Barring a few states where rail track electrification is going on and the Union Territories (UTs) Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar, all states and UTs are being catered to by Vande Bharat services.

    According to the Indian Railways, 24 states/UTs are now being covered which include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.

    Vande Bharat Express Train marks the advent of the semi-high-speed train set, which revolutionised the notion of rail travel experience with state-of-the-art passenger amenities and reduced travel time.

    Enhancing travelling experiences of passengers, 23 Vande Bharat trains with 46 services are operational now on electrified rail networks across the country, and they will soon make their mark in the remaining few states/UTs, once the rail network is electrified.

    A train service operational between two destinations such as a train going from Delhi to Bhopal and the same train returning from Bhopal to Delhi will be considered one train, but two services.

    Exhibiting the true spirit of the ‘Make-In-India’ initiative, this indigenously engineered train set is being manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai.

    The idea of manufacturing indigenous semi-high speed train sets came during first Rail Vikas Shivir in 2016. The project began in mid-2017 and Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, manufactured Train-18 in 2018, India's first semi-high-speed train set, in just 18 months.

    The train was named Train-18 to signify the target completion time and the deadline set by ICF (18 months which means by 2018).

    In a trial run, on 2 December, 2018, Train-18 breached the 180 kmph speed limit on the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. In January 2019, acknowledging its Made-in-India status, Indian Railways named the indigenously manufactured Train-18 as Vande Bharat Express.

    Beginning on 15 February, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

    Enhancing the train travel experience, there are total 46 Vande Bharat Express services running throughout the country till now.

    Encompassing 24 states and UTs, the Vande Bharat Express fleet has been growing owing to its time-saving feature, which saves an average of an hour in comparison to other trains.

    With a maximum permissible speed of up to 160 kmph, it provides faster acceleration. The Vande Bharat Express is the fastest passenger train on the routes that it is running on.

    Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 February, 2022 during her budget speech announced that 400 new-generation Vande Bharat Trains with better energy efficiency and passenger riding experience will be developed and manufactured.

    As of July 2022, a tender has been awarded for manufacturing 102 Vande Bharat trains and another tender has been floated for 200 Vande Bharat trains.

    As of 28 June 28, 2023, all states with electrified rail networks have Vande Bharat Express service and Indian Railways is moving apace in mission mode to achieve a 100 per cent Electrified Broad Gauge Network.

    The Vande Bharat Express has been popular among travelers ever since its inception. A testimony to this is the 100 per cent occupancy rate on the present Vande Bharat trains running across the rail network.

    According to data, between April 2021 and June 2023, Vande Bharat trains have made total 2,140 trips while 2,520,370 passengers with 2,523,538 berths, have boarded the Vande Bharat Express during this period.

    In comparison to road and air transportation, Vande Bharat is known for its efficient connectivity. It is a more economical option compared to air travel, which has flexible/dynamic pricing and is available on routes with no direct flights. This is also a time-saving option, with no additional time (around 45 minutes) spent at the airport prior to boarding the aircraft.

    It is also a preferred mode over road travel with a less noisy travel experience and without any hassle of traffic bottlenecks and other charges (toll charges, state transportation tax, etc.)

    Along with this, hot and delicious meals served onboard and rotatable chairs add to the comfort of the journey when compared to roadways mode of transportation.

    Additionally, Vande Bharat Express boasts of an array of premium features, from being energy-efficient and making it an environmentally-conscious pick with a lower carbon footprint, to ample legroom for passengers to enjoy scenic views throughout their journeys.

    The coaches are equipped with infotainment systems for recreation, mobile charging sockets for every seat, automatic plug doors, and direct and diffused lighting in the coaches. Factoring in safety, these train sets are fitted with the KAVACH system to ensure a secure voyage.

    Touch-free toilet systems enable a cleaner and more resourceful unit, which adds to the convenience of the passengers aboard. These are also Divyangjan-friendly coaches, equipped with a Braille system to offer smooth sailing and make the overall experience more inclusive.

    The journeys have been highly appreciated, with testimonies and acclaim from the passengers. Not only businessmen but also devotees have benefited from the seamless connectivity to various major cities. With this, there’s a boost in religious tourism to several destinations, such as Tirupati, Shirdi, Ajmer and more.

    From the cleanliness upheld and maintained in the coach to the food served, the passenger critique remains favorable. The futuristic outlook of the coach is remarkable and gathers gaze as it moves.

    The indigenous aspect of uplifting the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative drives forth the pride that emerges from ‘Made in India, for India.’

    The government is also trying to develop the Vande Metro which will provide rapid world-class shuttle like experience for the passengers. For the Vande Metro, the vision was to develop routes within the periphery of big cities of around 50 km, in order to serve the population residing in these areas.

    During the year 2023-24, the design and production will be completed for the Vande metro and they are expected to be ramped up in the upcoming financial year of 2024-25.

    Additionally, to cater to long distance travel, a sleeper version of Vande Bharat Express trains will be launched soon.

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