PM flags off Vande Bharat Express 

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off India's fastest train 'Vande Bharat Express' at a ceremony in New Delhi, India on Friday. (REUTERS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Vande Bharat Express (Train 18), billed as India's fastest train, at New Delhi Railway Station on Friday.

The PM, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and top railway officials, were present while flagging off the semi high-speed train, which will run between New Delhi and Varanasi.

The commercial operations of the train between two destinations will start from February 17.

The train had hit the speed of over 180 kmph during a trial run on a section of the Delhi-Varanasi route. The semi-high speed Train 18, which has been recently rechristened Vande Bharat Express has travel classes like the Shatabdi trains but with better facilities, said the Ministry of Railways.

The Vande Bharat Express, the country first high semi high-speed train, was manufactured under the 'Make in India' initiative at Indian Coach Factory in Chennai. Earlier the train was named as Train-18 as it is completely in-house design and manufacture, computer modelling and working with a large number of suppliers for system integration in just 18 months.

Gradually Vande Bharat Express will replace Shatabdi Express.

In Vande Bharat Express, coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, on-board hotspot Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes, and very comfortable seating. Every coach has a pantry with a facility to serve hot meals said the statement from Railways.

Adding up the green footprints, the train has regenerative braking system in the Vande Bharat Express coaches which can save up to 30% of electrical energy. All toilets are the bio-vacuum type, said the railways.

Vande Bharat Express has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which 2 are executive class coaches. The total seating capacity is 1,128 passengers.

The chair car fares are 1.4 times the base price of Shatabdi trains running the same distance and that of the executive class 1.3 times of a first class air-conditioned ticket in the premium train.

The all air-conditioned luxury train will take around eight hours to travel between Delhi and Varanasi, halting at only two stations - Kanpur and Allahabad.

No other railway passes like privilege, complimentary, post-retirement complimentary passes shall be permissible in this train," said railway official adding that tickets include meal charges.

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PM flags off Vande Bharat Express 

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