The Narendra Modi government has decided to soon launch the Vande Bharat Express - India's first semi high-speed train - on the route between Delhi and Katra in what would be a big gain for pilgrims making their way to Vaishno Devi.
The decision to launch Vande Bharat Express was taken recently and trial runs are expected to begin in the immediate future. It is estimated that once commercial runs officially begin, travellers can cover the distance in just eight hours. It currently takes between 10 and 12 hours to reach Katra by train from Delhi.
Once the trails are successfully completed, the Vande Bharat Express - capable of speeds of 130kmph, will leave New Delhi station and make stops in Ambala, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi before making its way towards Katra. According to plans of the Railway Ministry, the train will depart from New Delhi at 0600hrs, reach Ambala at 0810hrs where it will halt for two minutes before leaving for Ludhiana where it will reach at 0922hrs. The stoppage here too would be for two minutes. It would then make way for Jammu Tawi and reach at 1240hrs and eventually reach Katra at 1400hrs.
On its return leg, the Vande Bharat Express will depart from Katra at 1500hrs, reach Jammu Tawi at 1618hrs, stop at Ludhiana at 1936hrs, touch Ambala at 2056hrs and eventually reach New Delhi at 2300hrs. The stoppage at each of the three stations before New Delhi would once again be for two minutes.
Since authorities have planned for the train to run at 130kmph between New Delhi and Ludhiana, the trials too would be at these speeds between the two stations.
A shining example of the 'Make-in-India' campaign, the first run of Vande Bharat Express had started its first commercial run in February between New Delhi and Varanasi. The train not only promises high speeds but also has a number of safety and comfort features like automatic doors, 180-degree rotational seats, WiFi and infotainment systems.