Tirupati-bound Vande Bharat likely to have 16 coaches soon in view of high demand

Ministry of Railways has accepted proposal, announces Union Minister Kishan Reddy; the Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat train launched by PM Modi last month has eight coaches

May 11, 2023 12:47 am | Updated 12:47 am IST - HYDERABAD

Runaway hit: The Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat train has been gaining favour with passengers even though the tickets are priced on the higher side. 

Runaway hit: The Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat train has been gaining favour with passengers even though the tickets are priced on the higher side.  | Photo Credit: File Photo

Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeast Region G. Kishan Reddy has announced in a tweet about the Ministry of Railways accepting the proposal to introduce a full-length ‘Vande Bharat’ train of 16 coaches between Secunderabad and Tirupati soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had personally green-flagged a Vande Bharat train to Tirupati from the Secunderabad railway station last month but that was an eight-coach one, unlike the first such train for the zone towards Visakhapatnam which had 16 coaches. The first train was launched in January.

While none in South Central Railway (SCR) is sure about when the new 16-coach train will replace the existing eight-coach one, considering the demand from across the country, Railway officials are taken aback by the demand for travel on Vande Bharat trains because it is a day’s journey and two, the ticket is relatively more expensive.

Defying conventional wisdom, the trains have been running full in the past two months with average occupancy being about 131% in April which has increased to 134% in May for both executive class and chair car categories with each train having the capacity to carry 530 passengers, informed senior officials.

The demand for tickets is high in both directions — Secunderabad to Tirupati (20701) starts at 6 a.m. reaching the destination at 2.30 p.m. and in the return direction, the train departs Tirupati at 3.15 p.m. to reach here at 11.45 p.m. Ticket prices are ₹3,080 and ₹1,680 for executive and chair car, respectively.

A 3-AC ticket in any of the four usual express trains costs about ₹1,050 and a 2AC ticket about ₹1,475. “There is high demand for trains towards Tirupati during the holiday season, especially the summer months and during Christmas when you need to book two or three months in advance. The rush is being reflected on Vande Bharat trains too, even if it is an expensive alternative,” say senior officials.

The in-demand trains usually are Narayanadri Express from Secunderabad going via Guntur, Venkatadri from Kacheguda traversing through Kurnool, Rayalaseeema Express from Nizamabad moving through Gooty, and Padmavati Express (five days a week) via Vijayawada.

These trains start in the evening and drop the passengers in the morning, in what was considered the preferred route as a double-decker daytime express train introduced on the route five years ago had no takers. But Vande Bharat, despite being a day train, has been a game-changer.

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