A month in service, Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express proves to be a hit

According to details accessed by The Free Press Journal, the occupancy percentage for the Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express was 120 per cent, and over 70,000 passengers travelled by the premium train between October 1 and 31

Kamal MishraUpdated: Tuesday, November 01, 2022, 08:48 PM IST
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Vande Bharat Express (Representative Image) | File

Mumbai: The Vande Bharat Express is a super hit! Western Railways’ first semi-high speed, engine-less train set, the Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express, has successfully completed one month of service.

According to details accessed by The Free Press Journal, the occupancy percentage for the Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express was 120 per cent, and over 70,000 passengers travelled by the premium train between October 1 and 31. This reflects the success of the train in its first month.

"Majority of passengers using the new train were earlier either travelling by road or plane," said an officer of WR, adding that the new train also reduced the waiting list of the Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express.

However, occupancy of Mumbai Central - Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express is still at almost the same level, and is running with an average occupancy of 117 percent. This fact is proof that the Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express created its own clientele.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the train and dedicated it to the nation on September 30. However, the semi-high speed train started its commercial run from Mumbai central to Gandhinagar from October 1.

The train covers a distance of 522 km between Mumbai Central and Gandhinagar in six hours and 15 minutes, with an average speed of around 84 kmph. During its return journey, the train took six hours and 33 minutes, with an average speed of 80 kmph. This train runs on all days, except Sunday.

The fully air-conditioned Vande Bharat Express train comprises 16 coaches. All coaches of this self-propelled train boast stainless steel car bodied, European-style comfortable seating, as well as on-board hotspot Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes. In addition, the lighting inside the coaches is dual mode viz. personal for every seat and diffused for general illumination.

"There is good reason to believe that the new train could lead the great Indian Railways makeover - which is looking at competing with budget airlines, becoming more profitable in some passenger segments, modernising travel experience and shifting the rail network towards higher speeds right up to bullet trains," said Bhushan Bhai Shah, resident of Borvali who frequently travels between Mumbai and Ahadabad. According to Shah, earlier he mostly traveled by air.

"Railway is upgrading its major routes to 160 kmph. Since travel in non-AC sleeper coaches would be uncomfortable at higher speeds, there are plans to run faster AC trains on key routes. The demand for AC train travel has also seen a steady growth in the last few years," said a senior officer of WR, adding that Vande Bharat Express trains can meet both passenger and railways needs - AC travel, higher speed potential and importantly, the potential to become a profit yielding project for railways.

The new trains will be a win-win for passengers and railways.

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