At a time when indigenous semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express is creating a lot of hype, the South Western Railway (SWR) has proposed to the Railway Board for operating the new generation trains on three routes connecting Bengaluru.
The proposed routes are Bengaluru to Coimbatore, Bengaluru to Chennai, and Bengaluru to Hubballi.
Sources in the SWR said routes proposed for Vande Bharat were based on their popularity and feasibility. “The proposal has been formally submitted to the Railway Board. The Board will take a final decision on introducing new services. The number of rakes, schedules and others will be decided by the Railway Board,” they said.
“We are hoping that people who are relying on the air travel on these routes may also shift to Vande Bharat. Travel experience in the new trains will be superior in terms of speed and travel comfort with reclining seats, user-friendly amenities, design-wise aesthetic features of the coach are good,” sources added.
The Railways has been maintaining that speed, safety and services are the hallmarks of Vande Bharat Express. A few days ago, the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the trial run of third Vande Bharat between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was successfully completed and the train was operated at maximum speed of 180 kmph at a stable condition. It reached 0-100 kmph in 52 seconds. The minister said a green signal had been received from the Railway Safety Commissioner. Integral Coach Factory in Chennai will roll out 75 Vande Bharat Express trains.
Sources said Union Minister Pralhad Joshi had requested the Railways to run a Vande Bharat train between Hubballi and Bengaluru. “Doubling of track between Hubballi and Bengaluru will provide a more conducive environment to run Vande Bharat train. Between Hubballi and Bengaluru, doubling of line is pending between South Hubballi and Haveri over a distance of 45 km. The work is expected to be completed by year-end. The SWR is also targeting electrification of the line by March 2023. Once doubling is complete, it will also help for existing trains to bring down travel time by one hour as curves are flattened and permanent speed restrictions are removed,” said a source.