Vande Bharat Express – the New Game Changer?

Vande Bharat express is the semi-high speed train set in Indian Railways, which is set to revolutionize passenger travel. Vande Bharat express was also co-named Train 18 as it was launched way back in 2018. But after manufacturing of the first 2 rakes, the manufacturing was stopped due to some tender and technical issues. Now, the 3rd rake, newly launched from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, will be the benchmark for the future Vande Bharat expresses.

Vande Bharat express is certainly a world-class train, having features at par with trains in developed countries. Vande Bharat express is capable of running at 180 kmph speed, although due to restriction on the tracks, Vande Bharat express runs commercially at only 130 kmph maximum speed. It’s acceleration is also better than bullet trains, as it can accelerate to 100 kmph from rest in just 52 seconds, while bullet trains take 55 seconds to achieve the same. Also, Vande Bharat express has additional regenerative braking, as it can generate some amount of energy even from braking. Kavach signalling system, which is an indigenous signalling system, is being implemented in the new Vande Bharat express.

From a passenger’s point of view, Vande Bharat express has good catering, personal reading lights, personal charging sockets, rotating seats in Executive Chair Car, diffused lighting system, window shutters, good leg space, and decent bio toilets. Vande Bharat express is a highly punctual, highly prioritized train on their selective routes, that can compete with air travel once the tracks are capable of supporting 160 kmph speed trains. The trains also connect important destinations, hence usually run packed throughout the year.

Looking at the present status, Vande Bharat trains only serve sitting arrangements. Currently, they are replacing Shatabdi express in the Delhi-Varanasi, Delhi-Katra, and the newly launched Mumbai-Ahmedabad routes. They are yet to be applied for long distances, which involves sleeping arrangements. Although they are capable of running at 160 kmph, currently they are operated only at 130 kmph at most and that too only at a few sections. Even that 130 kmph speed is also attained only at a small stretch, and most of the stretches have a cap of 110 kmph speed or less. Vande Bharat express is only a hybrid between suburban trains with distributed traction, and express trains, running continuously for long distances. The proposed light-weight aluminium trains, which are capable of running at 200 kmph, the benchmark of high-speed rail network, is a long way to go.

Written by – Himadri Paul

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