The number of Vande Bharat trains has been increased to 82 and work is underway to increase the speed of these trains to 160 kilometres per hour on the New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah routes, the government informed Parliament on Wednesday.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha to questions raised by 10 MPs regarding the services of the Vande Bharat trains, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “As on January 31, 2024, 82 Vande Bharat train services are operating across the Indian Railways, connecting states having Broad Gauge (BG) electrified network.”
“Besides, provision of stoppage of train services and introduction of new train services, including Vande Bharat, are ongoing processes on Indian Railways subject to traffic justification, operational feasibility, resource availability etc.,” he added.
“Train-wise and state-wise revenue generated is not maintained,” the minister said to questions on the state-wise average income generation from the Vande Bharat trains.
Vaishnaw also responded to the MPs’ concern regarding the steps that the railway is taking to increase the speed of the Vande Bharat trains and said, “Sectional speed over 10,981 route kilometres covering Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) and diagonal routes and other ‘B’ routes have been raised to 130 kmph.” “Further, works for raising of sectional speed to 160 kmph on existing New Delhi-Mumbai (including Vadodara-Ahmedabad) and New Delhi-Howrah (including Kanpur-Lucknow) routes have been taken up,” he added.
On the question of occupancy in the Vande Bharat trains, the minister said, “During the financial year 2022-23, overall occupancy of Vande Bharat trains was 96.62 per cent.”
The MPs also wanted to know about the other changes proposed in the said trains for the convenience of passengers.
“The improved version of Vande Bharat trains presently running over the Indian Railway network with enhanced safety features, faster acceleration, better ride index and passenger amenities, such as automatic plug doors, reclining ergonomic seats, comfortable seating with revolving seats in executive class, mobile charging sockets for every seat etc. and is fitted with KAVACH system,” the railway minister said.