Train 18 has been renamed Vande Bharat Express, as an acknowledgement of its made-in-India status. "It is completely made in India and various names were suggested by the general public but we have decided to name it Vande Bharat Express. A gift on the occasion of the Republic Day to people. Will request the prime minister to flag it off," said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday.
The 16-coach train, built in 18 months at a cost of Rs 97 crore by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, in 18 months, is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. It's also the first locomotive-less train in the country.
The train is set to run between Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160kmph. The fully air-conditioned train will stop at Kanpur and Prayagraj and will have two executive chair cars.
According to reports, Train 18 fares are likely to cost you 40-50 percent more than the Shatabdi Express. As mentioned in agency reports, the Executive Class fare is likely to cost around Rs 2,800-Rs 2,900, while the Chair Car fare is likely to be in the range of Rs 1,600-Rs 1,700.
Train 18 also has features like inter-connected fully-sealed gangways, and disabled-friendly toilets, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the Executive Class), GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, roller blinds and diffused LED lighting.
Train 18 has received all the clearances required. Officials say that they have now approached the PMO to decide on a date of launch. It is likely that PM Modi will launch the train after the Budget 2019 session.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya; with PTI inputs)