A day after Vande Bharat Express was flagged off, the indigenous train broke down while returning from Varanasi early on Saturday morning. The train, formerly known as Train 18 was halted around 5:30 am at Bahrain, 15 kilometres from Tundla in Uttar Pradesh.
The train was heading back to Delhi from Varanasi for its first commercial run. The train, however, resumed operations around 8:15 am after the technical snag was fixed, railway officials said.
The officials maintained that it was a case of “skidding wheels” due to a cattle run over by the train. “It was a case of skidding wheels after the train ran over a cattle. Engineers are looking into it,” Northern Railway CPRO Deepak Kumar said.
Media reports said four coaches of the train experienced an electrical outage and the breaks were also jammed due to engine failure. According to sources, including several journalists on board the train, it was stuck near Tundla for over an hour.
This was not a commercial run of the train. The commercial operations will start from Sunday, February 17.
On Friday morning, India’s first engineless train Vande Bharat Express rolled out from the New Delhi railway station on its inaugural journey to Varanasi, a testament to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The train was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meet in the morning in wake of the heinous terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that rocked the country a day before on February 14. The launch event took place without any flower decorations.
Even though the event was shadowed by Pulwama terror attack, the atmosphere along the route was marked by both a sense of excitement as well as a feeling of pride for the indigenously made train.
As the blue and white long-nosed train began its journey with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, a media contingent comprising national and international reporters and senior railway officials on board, Modi waved goodbye. Cameras caught the moment for posterity.
Minutes later, speaking to reporters on board the train, Goyal said this state of the art train will offer a convenient experience to passengers and reduce travel time on the New Delhi-Varanasi route to eight hours compared to 13-14 hours other trains take for the trip.
“It is a manifestation of our engineering talent and is a pride of the railways and the country. It’s a matter of pride that the train set has been built by our engineers and workers. Its top speed is 180kmph,” he said.
The train’s first halt was at Kanpur Central Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh.
Along the route, in a treatment usually reserved for celebrities, people clicked photos and recorded videos as the train zoomed past them.
At the station, the train was welcomed by a huge crowd amid chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
People jostled to touch the train and its windows as it pulled into the station. Majority of them had their cameras out here as well — taking selfies with the train in background.
Some even tried entering the train but were stopped by the security personnel.