PM Modi likely to flag off Northeast's first Vande Bharat train on April 14.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to flag off the first Vande Bharat Express of Northeast India, which will connect Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri, on April 14, informed a senior official.
Preparations for the grand flagging off ceremony have already begun by the Northeast Frontier Railway.
"Yes, it is true that Vande Bharat Express will be launched soon in the northeast. We are targeting April 14 to launch this special train when the Prime Minister will be visiting Guwahati," the official told Press Trust of India on condition of anonymity.
According to reports, PM Modi is scheduled to visit Guwahati on Bohag Bihu on April 14 to witness Bihu performance by over 11,000 Bihu dancers and drummers, in their attempt to register it as the 'largest recital of the folk dance form' in Guinness World Records.
According to the official, in the same visit, the PM may also flag off the new service in the region.
Currently, the NFR runs Vande Bharat Express only between Howrah and New Jalpaiguri, both in West Bengal.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had on March 6 said the prestigious Vande Bharat Express will reach Rangpo in Sikkim by December, 2024.
The Vande Bharat Express has a maximum commercial speed of 160 km per hour. The speed exceeded 180 km per hour during testing. As most Indian tracks are not capable of supporting such high speeds, the train is operated at a maximum speed of 130 km per hour.
An NFR official said that the new Guwahati-New Jalpaiguri train will be able to run at a maximum speed of 110 km per hour.
"The speed taken by a train depends on the rolling stock capacity, which is very high in Vande Bharat Express, and the track capacity," he said.
Notably, Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express, too, run at a maximum speed of 110 km per hour in the northeast, he added.
In a letter issued on March 17, NFR Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer Jyotindra Digi had asked departments concerned to prepare various allied services for smooth running of the Vande Bharat Express.
"...Vande Bharat Train set is likely to be inaugurated for service between GHY (Guwahati) and NJP (New Jalpaiguri) in first week of April or latest by 2nd week of April, 2023," he said in the letter, which was accessed by PTI.
The Chief Mechanical Engineer asked the Mechanical Department to have trained manpower at Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri coaching depots, arrange maintenance spare parts, and to keep ready with on-board housekeeping service (OBHS) (most likely from Guwahati).
He also issued instructions to the electrical department to form a crew of trained personnel to run the trains.
The Vande Bharat train which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019 is considered a semi-high-speed train, which is the second fastest train in India. It was designed by RDSO and manufactured by the government-owned Integral Coach Factory (ICF), located in Chennai.
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