Vande Bharat Express is a medium-distance superfast express service operated by Indian Railways. It is a reserved, air-conditioned chair car service connecting cities that are less than 800 km (500 mi) apart or take less than ten hours to travel with existing services. The train entered commercial service on 15 February 2019.

Vande Bharat Express
Vande Bharat Express trains in different liveries
Overview
Service typeInter-city semi-high-speed rail
StatusActive
PredecessorShatabdi Express
First service15 February 2019; 5 years ago (2019-02-15)
Websiteindianrail.gov.in
Route
Line(s) used51
On-board services
Class(es)AC Chair Car (C)
AC Executive Class (E)
Seating arrangements
  • Airline style
  • Rotatable seats
Catering facilitiesOn-board catering
Observation facilitiesWide windows
Entertainment facilities
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks
Other facilities
Technical
Rolling stockVande Bharat (trainset)
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC Overhead line
Operating speed160 km/h (99 mph) (maximum)
83 km/h (52 mph)[1][2] (average)
Average length384 m (1,260 ft) (16 coaches)
192 m (630 ft) (8 coaches)

The trainsets are self-propelling Electric Multiple Units (EMU)s with eight or sixteen coaches. The trainset was designed and manufactured by Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. Introduced in 2018, the trainsets achieved semi-high speeds of 183 km/h (114 mph) on trials, but the operational speed is limited due to track restrictions, halts and traffic congestion. The maximum operational speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) is achieved by the Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj)–Hazrat Nizamuddin Vande Bharat Express and Hazrat Nizamuddin-Khajuraho Vande Bharat Express on the TughlakabadAgra section.

History edit

Efforts to increase speed (1960–2016) edit

In 1960, the Railway Board of India commissioned a study to increase the speed of its trains, which was restricted to 96 km/h (60 mph) on the existent broad gauge lines.[3] A target of 160 km/h (99 mph) with an intermediate stage of 120 km/h (75 mph) was set for passenger trains. Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) started work on the same and using the coaches were manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Madras and hauled by diesel locomotives, Rajdhani Express capable of reaching speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph) were introduced in 1969.[4][5] With the introduction of WAP-1 electric locomotives, Shatabdi Express introduced in 1988, were capable of running at a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).[6] [7][8]

 
Talgo train at New Delhi railway station during trials in 2016

From the late 1990s, the ICF coaches were replaced by safer and newer LHB coaches designed by Linke-Hofmann-Busch of Germany.[9][10] In December 2009, the Ministry of Railways of Government of India envisaged the implementation of high-speed rail projects to provide services at 250–350 km/h (160–220 mph) with the up-gradation of existing tracks, construction of new lines and introduction of high speed trainsets.[11][12] In 2014, proposals were made to introduce semi-high-speed 160–200 km/h (99–124 mph) services between major cities.[13] In 2016, Gatimaan Express was inaugurated which achieved speeds of 160 km/h (99 mph) between Delhi and Agra.[14]

In June 2016, Indian Railways sought Requests For Qualification (RFQ) to jointly manufacture five thousand Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) sets with interested international and domestic parties.[15] In 2015, Talgo conducted trial runs on the Mumbai–Delhi line, completing the journey in ten hours, almost six hours quicker than the existing fastest train with an average speed of 117.5 km/h (73.0 mph). There were significant issues such as the adaptation of rakes, maintenance, higher costs and robustness.[16] Indian Railways could not reach a direct agreement and the deal never materialised.[17]

Making an indigenous trainset (2016–19) edit

After foreign proposals for introducing semi-high-speed trains were unsuccessful, the Make in India campaign fuelled the cause for developing the next generation EMU semi-high-speed trainsets locally. ICF worked on an indigenous design, which was constructed at the Integral Coach Factory.[18] These trainsets known as Train 18 initially, were introduced in 2018 and reached speeds of up to 183 km/h (114 mph) in trials.[19] It trainset was later renamed to Vande Bharat.[20]

Introduction and further (2019–present) edit

 
Inauguration of the first Vande Bharat Express to Varanasi at the New Delhi railway station

On 15 February 2019, the first Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi was flagged off at the New Delhi railway station by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[21][22] The train covered a distance of 759 km (472 mi) in 8 hours at an average speed of 95 km/h (59 mph) and reduced the existing travel time along the route by 15%.[23] In October 2019, the second service was launched between New Delhi and Katra.[24]

After the inauguration of the first two services, Indian Railways stopped production of new trainsets owing to internal issues.[25] In 2019, Indian Railways resumed tenders for the production of new sets with more time provided to come up with the cheapest bid for the upgrades required.[26] The second generation trainsets entered service on 30 September 2022.[27] Since Vande Bharat trains provide fast service across short-distances, similar to the Shatabdi Express, the trains will eventually replace the existing Shatabdis.[28] As of 2023, ICF is developing long-distance version of the trainset with sleeper cars.[28]

The country has set a target of having 4,500 Vande Bharat trains by 2047.[29]

Rolling stock edit

 
The trainset is capable of reaching speeds of up to 180 km/h (110 mph) but limited operationally to lower speeds

Vande Bharat Express uses self-propelled EMU trainsets manufactured by Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.[30] The trainsets have sixteen or eight chair cars.[31] A standard sixteen car rake consists of two Driving Trailer Coaches, one each on every end along with two non-driver trailer coaches, four trailer coaches with pantographs and eight motor coaches.[32] A second generation sixteen car trainset weighs 392 tonnes and costs 115 crore (US$14 million).[33][34] The chassis of a coach is 23 m (75 ft) long, and is made of stainless steel.[35]

During its trial runs, the trainsets had clocked speeds of up to 183 km/h (114 mph) with an acceleration of 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 52 seconds.[36][19] The operational speed is limited due to track restrictions, halts and traffic congestion. The maximum operational speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) is achieved by the Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj)–Hazrat Nizamuddin Vande Bharat Express and Hazrat Nizamuddin-Khajuraho Vande Bharat Express on the 174 km (108 mi) TughlakabadAgra section.[37]

Facilities edit

AC Executive Class (EC)
AC Chair Car (CC)

The train has two classes of accommodation with the AC Executive Class being the premium class and the AC chair being the other. The executive class coach can seat 52 passengers and is equipped with rotating seats in a 2x2 configuration.[38] The chair car coaches can seat 78 passengers per coach (44 in first and last coaches) and are equipped with retractable seats in 2x3 configuration.[39] The coaches are fully air conditioned and equipped with electric outlets, reading lights, CCTV cameras, automatic doors, bio-vacuum toilets, Sensor-based water taps and Passenger information system.[40] The coaches have wider windows with roller blinds and overhead racks for luggage.[41] The service offers onboard catering with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal options included in the fare as standard.[42]

Services edit

As of 12 March 2024, 51 Vande Bharat trains are in service, which includes seventeen 16-car services and thirty-four 8-car services.

S.No. Service Train number Zone Halts Cars Frequency Distance Travel time Speed Inaugural run Ref
Maximum[a] Average
1 New Delhi–Varanasi 22436/22435 NR 2 16 Except Thu 757 km (470 mi) 08h 00m 130 km/h (81 mph) 95 km/h (59 mph) 15 February 2019 [43]
2 New Delhi–SMVD Katra 22439/22440 NR 4 16 Except Tue 655 km (407 mi) 08h 05m 130 km/h (81 mph) 81 km/h (50 mph) 3 October 2019 [44]
3 Mumbai Central–Gandhinagar Capital 20901/20902 WR 5 16 Except Wed 520 km (320 mi) 06h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 81 km/h (50 mph) 30 September 2022 [45][46]
4 New Delhi–Amb Andaura 22447/22448 NR 4 16 Except Tue 437 km (272 mi) 05h 15m 130 km/h (81 mph) 83 km/h (52 mph) 13 October 2022 [47]
5 MGR Chennai Central–Mysuru 20607/20608 SR 2 16 Except Wed 496 km (308 mi) 06h 30m 130 km/h (81 mph) 76 km/h (47 mph) 11 November 2022 [48]
6 Bilaspur–Nagpur 20825/20826 SECR 5 8 Except Sat 412 km (256 mi) 05h 30m 130 km/h (81 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) 11 December 2022 [49][50]
7 Howrah–New Jalpaiguri 22301/22302 ER 3 16 Except Wed 561 km (349 mi) 07h 30m 130 km/h (81 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) 30 December 2022 [51]
8 Visakhapatnam–Secunderabad 20833/20834 ECoR 5 16 Except Sun 698 km (434 mi) 08h 30m 130 km/h (81 mph) 82 km/h (51 mph) 15 January 2023 [52]
9 Mumbai CSMT–Solapur 22225/22226 CR 5 16 Except Wed (22225)

Except Thu (22226)

454 km (282 mi) 06h 35m 130 km/h (81 mph) 69 km/h (43 mph) 10 February 2023 [53][54]
10 Mumbai CSMT–Sainagar Shirdi 22223/22224 CR 4 16 Except Tue 340 km (210 mi) 05h 10m 130 km/h (81 mph) 66 km/h (41 mph) [55][56]
11 Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj)–Hazrat Nizamuddin 20171/20172 WCR 3 16 Except Sat 700 km (430 mi) 07h 36m 160 km/h (99 mph) 92 km/h (57 mph) 1 April 2023 [57][58]
12 Secunderabad–Tirupati 20701/20702 SCR 5 16 Except Tue 661 km (411 mi) 08h 20m 130 km/h (81 mph) 79 km/h (49 mph) 8 April 2023 [59][60]
13 MGR Chennai Central–Coimbatore 20643/20644 SR 3 8 Except Wed 497 km (309 mi) 06h 00m 130 km/h (81 mph) 83 km/h (52 mph) [61]
14 Ajmer–Chandigarh 20977/20978 NWR 7 16 Except Wed 700 km (430 mi) 08h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 83 km/h (52 mph) 12 April 2023 [62][63]
15 Kasaragod–Thiruvananthapuram 20633/20634 SR 8 16 Except Thu 589 km (366 mi) 08h 10m 110 km/h (68 mph) 72 km/h (45 mph) 25 April 2023 [64][65]
16 Howrah–Puri 22895/22896 SER 7 16 Except Thu 500 km (310 mi) 06h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 78 km/h (48 mph) 18 May 2023 [66][67]
17 Dehradun–Anand Vihar Terminal 22458/22457 NR 6 8 Except Wed 302 km (188 mi) 04h 45m 110 km/h (68 mph) 64 km/h (40 mph) 25 May 2023 [68][69]
18 New Jalpaiguri–Guwahati 22227/22228 NFR 5 8 Except Tue 407 km (253 mi) 05h 30m 110 km/h (68 mph) 74 km/h (46 mph) 29 May 2023 [70][71]
19 Mumbai CSMT–Madgaon 22229/22230 CR 7 8 Except Fri 580 km (360 mi) 07h 45m 120 km/h (75 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) 27 June 2023 [72][73]
20 Patna–Ranchi 22349/22350 ECR 6 8 Except Tue 379 km (235 mi) 06h 00m 130 km/h (81 mph) 63 km/h (39 mph) [74]
21 KSR Bengaluru–Dharwad 20661/20662 SWR 3 8 Except Tue 490 km (300 mi) 06h 25m 110 km/h (68 mph) 76 km/h (47 mph) [75][76]
22 Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj)–Rewa 20173/20174 WCR 8 8 Except Tue 568 km (353 mi) 08h 00m 110 km/h (68 mph) 71 km/h (44 mph) [77]
23 Indore–Nagpur 20911/20912 WR 4 8 Except Sun 635 km (395 mi) 08h 20m 110 km/h (68 mph) 76 km/h (47 mph) [78]
24 Jodhpur–Sabarmati (Ahmedabad) 12461/12462 NWR 5 8 Except Tue 449 km (279 mi) 06h 00m 130 km/h (81 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) 7 July 2023 [79][80]
25 Gorakhpur–Prayagraj (Allahabad) 22549/22550 NER 4 8 Except Sat 500 km (310 mi) 07h 30m 110 km/h (68 mph) 67 km/h (42 mph) [81][82]
26 Udaipur City–Jaipur 20979/20980 NWR 7 8 Except Tue 435 km (270 mi) 06h 20m 130 km/h (81 mph) 69 km/h (43 mph) 24 September 2023 [83][84]
27 MGR Chennai Central–Vijayawada 20677/20678 SR 4 8 Except Tue 514 km (319 mi) 06h 40m 130 km/h (81 mph) 77 km/h (48 mph) [85]
28 Chennai Egmore–Tirunelveli 20665/20666 SR 6 8 Except Tue 650 km (400 mi) 07h 50m 110 km/h (68 mph) 83 km/h (52 mph) [86][87]
29 Kacheguda–Yesvantpur 20703/20704 SCR 4 8 Except Wed 612 km (380 mi) 08h 15m 110 km/h (68 mph) 74 km/h (46 mph) [88]
30 Patna–Howrah 22348/22347 ECR 7 8 Except Wed 532 km (331 mi) 06h 35m 130 km/h (81 mph) 81 km/h (50 mph) [89]
31 Ranchi–Howrah 20898/20897 SER 6 8 Except Tue 458 km (285 mi) 07h 10m 130 km/h (81 mph) 64 km/h (40 mph) [90][91]
32 Puri–Rourkela 20836/20835 ECoR 9 8 Except Sat 504 km (313 mi) 07h 45m 130 km/h (81 mph) 65 km/h (40 mph) [92]
33 Mangaluru Central–Thiruvananthapuram 20631/20632 SR 9 8 Daily 621 km (386 mi) 08h 40m 110 km/h (68 mph) 72 km/h (45 mph) [93][94]
34 Ahmedabad–Okha 22925/22926 WR 8 8 Except Wed (22926)

Except Tue (22925)

499 km (310 mi) 06h 30m 110 km/h (68 mph) 77 km/h (48 mph) [95]
35 Varanasi–New Delhi 22415/22416 NR 2 16 Except Tue 757 km (470 mi) 08h 05m 130 km/h (81 mph) 94 km/h (58 mph) 18 December 2023 [96][97]
36 Anand Vihar Terminal–Ayodhya Cantonment 22426/22425 NR 2 8 Except Wed 628 km (390 mi) 08h 20m 130 km/h (81 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) 30 December 2023 [98][99]
37 SMVD Katra–New Delhi 22478/22477 NR 5 16 Except Wed 655 km (407 mi) 08h 10m 130 km/h (81 mph) 80 km/h (50 mph) [100]
38 Amritsar–Delhi Junction 22488/22487 NR 5 8 Except Fri 447 km (278 mi) 05h 30m 130 km/h (81 mph) 81 km/h (50 mph) [101]
39 Coimbatore–Bengaluru Cantonment 20642/20641 SR 5 8 Except Thu 374 km (232 mi) 06h 25m 110 km/h (68 mph) 58 km/h (36 mph) [102]
40 Mangaluru Central–Madgaon 20646/20645 SR 2 8 Except Thu 317 km (197 mi) 04h 45m 120 km/h (75 mph) 67 km/h (42 mph) [103]
41 Jalna–Mumbai CSMT 20705/20706 SCR 6 8 Except Wed 435 km (270 mi) 06h 50m 110 km/h (68 mph) 64 km/h (40 mph) [104]
42 Kalaburagi (Gulbarga)–SMVT Bengaluru 22231/22232 CR 5 8 Except Thu (22232)

Except Fri (22231)

547 km (340 mi) 08h 45m 130 km/h (81 mph) 63 km/h (39 mph) 12 March 2024[105][106]
43 New Jalpaiguri–Patna 22233/22234 NFR 6 8 Except Tue 471 km (293 mi) 06h 55m 130 km/h (81 mph) 67 km/h (42 mph) [107]
44 Lucknow–Dehradun 22545/22546 NER 3 8 Except Mon 545 km (339 mi) 08h 20m 110 km/h (68 mph) 65 km/h (40 mph) [108]
45 Ahmedabad–Mumbai Central 22962/22961 WR 4 16 Except Sun 490 km (300 mi) 05h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 90 km/h (56 mph)
46 Mysuru Junction–MGR Chennai Central 20663/20664 SWR 4 8 Except Wed 497 km (309 mi) 06h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 77 km/h (48 mph)
47 Hazrat Nizamuddin–Khajuraho 22470/22469 NR 6 8 Except Mon 659 km (409 mi) 08h 20m 160 km/h (99 mph) 79 km/h (49 mph) [109]
48 Secunderabad–Visakhapatnam 20707/20708 SCR 5 8 Except Thu 698 km (434 mi) 08h 45m 130 km/h (81 mph) 80 km/h (50 mph)
49 Ranchi–Varanasi 20887/20888 SER 6 8 Except Fri 536 km (333 mi) 07h 50m 110 km/h (68 mph) 68 km/h (42 mph) [110]
50 Bhubaneswar–Visakhapatnam 20841/20842 ECoR 7 8 Except Mon 444 km (276 mi) 05h 45m 130 km/h (81 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph) [111]
51 Patna–Gomti Nagar (Lucknow) 22345/22346 ECR 5 8 Except Fri 545 km (339 mi) 08h 25m 130 km/h (81 mph) 65 km/h (40 mph) [108]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Maximum permissible speed over different sections as approved by the Commissioner of Railway Safety

References edit

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