Vande Bharat Express, new train to cut short Delhi-Katra travel time by 4 hours

Offering bonanza to Vaishno Devi pilgrims, the Indian Railways has decided to run a high-tech semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express between Delhi and Katra with an aim to reduce the travel time by about four hours.

Senior officials at Rail Bhawan said the decision to run the second Vande Bharat Express was taken recently by the Railway Board and the trial runs were expected soon. “Since there are plans that the express train will run at 130 kmph between New Delhi and Ludhiana, we have planned to launch the trial runs of Vande Bharat and express trains between the two stations at the designated speed,” said one of the officials in the know of the development.

As per the decision, once the commercial run of the Vande Bharat Express starts, the officials are expecting that travellers can cover the one way journey in just eight hours. Currently, it takes 12 hours to reach Katra from Delhi by train.

Railway officials said the train, capable of picking up a maximum speed of 130 kmph, would have stoppages at Ambala, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi, before finally reaching Katra.

The officials said the ministry was considering fixing 6 am as the departure time of the train from the New Delhi station. This would mean that it would reach Ambala at 8.10 am and halt for two minutes and then stop for another two minutes in Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi at 9.22 am and 12.40 pm, respectively. The train would finally conclude its journey at the Katra station at 2 pm, they said.

On its return journey, the train will start at 3 pm from Katra, reach Jammu Tawi at 4.18 pm, then stop at Ludhiana and Ambala at 7.36 pm and 8.56 pm, respectively, as it will conclude its journey at 11 pm. The stoppages at stations en route would be of 2 minutes.

The first commercial launch of the train between New Delhi and Varanasi was done in February.

Meanwhile, Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, while replying a question in the Rajya Sabha, said there was a plan to procure 24-train sets from Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023. He said the estimated total cost of the project, including the cost of rolling stock, is Rs 1,08,000 crore, of which 81 per cent will be funded through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

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