NEW DELHI, Sept 24: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off nine new Vande Bharat Express trains via video conferencing taking the total number of semi-high-speed trains currently operating in the country to 34.
The Vande Bharat trains launched on Sunday have a host of new features incorporated after passengers’ feedback. From improvising the seat reclining angle to incorporating deep wash basins to avoid water from splashing out, the coach manufacturers have paid attention to minute details.
The new Vande Bharat trains included Udaipur – Jaipur; Tirunelveli-Madurai- Chennai; Hyderabad –Bengaluru; Vijayawada – Chennai (via Renigunta); Patna – Howrah; Kasargod – Thiruvananthapuram; Rourkela – Bhubaneswar – Puri; Ranchi – Howrah; and Jamnagar-Ahmedabad.
Flagging off the new trains, the prime minister said the Vande Bharat Express trains would significantly improve connectivity as well as boost tourism across India. He said the government was focussing on multi-modal connectivity and ease of travel to ensure that time in commuting was minimised.
“This infrastructural development has matched aspirations of 140 crore Indians and this is what the country wants now,” the prime minister said.
The nine trains will provide faster connectivity across 11 states — Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand and Gujarat.
“In the last 9 years, PM Modi has extraordinarily transformed the Railway system. Today the railway stations cleaner, with newer facilities,” Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the flagging-off ceremony.
With the launch of the new trains, the railways also rolled out its first orange coloured Vande Bharat Express from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram, a high demand route which now operates two such trains, a senior Indian Railways official said. Over the next two months, nine more orange coloured Vande Bharat Express trains are expected to be rolled out.
Among the new features introduced on the trains based on passenger feedback are: the seat reclination angle raised from 17.31 degrees to 19.37 degrees, hardness of cushion optimised and the colour of seat in executive class coach changed from red to pleasant blue. The changes also include improved accessibility of mobile charging point under the seats, extended footrest for seats and magazine bags for executive class coach-end seats as well.
The improved features also include increase in the wash basin depth to avoid splashing of water in lavatories, lighting in toilets improved from 1.5 watts to 2.5 watts, toilet handle given additional bend for improved grip and water tap aerator to better water flow control.
In addition, the new features also include provision for securing points for wheel chairs of Divyangjan passengers in driving trailer coaches. The new train-sets also have improved air tightness for better airconditioning with insulation over panels, better roller blind fabric with more tear strength with less transparency and smooth touch controls for luggage rack lights by changing from resistive touch to capacitive touch. The trains also have improved aerosol based fire detection and suppression system inside the coaches.
As compared to the current fastest train along the route, Rourkela- Bhubaneswar – Puri and Kasaragod – Thiruvananthapuram, the Vande Bharat trains will cut travel time between respective destinations by about three hours; Hyderabad – Bengaluru by more than 2.5 hours; Tirunelveli-Madurai- Chennai by more than 2 hours.
The travel time between Ranchi – Howrah and Patna – Howrah and Jamnagar-Ahmedabad will be reduced by about one hour when compared with the fastest trains currently available between these destinations.
The travel time between Udaipur – Jaipur will be reduced by about half an hour.
The Rourkela- Bhubaneswar – Puri and Tirunelveli-Madurai- Chennai trains will connect the important religious towns of Puri and Madurai.