Trains have passengers, but the Vande Bharat trains have fans too. They have garnered immense popularity across India and are being talked about worldwide.
As per the passenger feedback, many like the trains’ modern amenities, the overhead luggage space and rotating seats. Many praise the reduced cabin noise levels, safety features, the speed and the smooth ride. Most mobile cameras are out when people see a Vande Bharat train approaching. The design has proved to be a visual delight.
PM Modi’s vision to fulfil the aspirations of India also had the transformation of Indian Railways at its core. On 15th February 2019, in dedicating India’s first semi high-speed train to the nation, Vande Bharat Express, he also kick-started the era of manufacturing world-class trains in India.
There was a time when the preferred way of getting world-class facilities to India was to import from abroad. PM Modi was very clear that India will not only have world-class trains but will also design and manufacture these in India. Today, Vande Bharat is a remarkable testament to India’s engineering prowess and people-centric governance model.
Scaling the rail network towards high-speed trains, it is a first-of-its-kind “engine-less” trainset that runs on distributed traction. With all airconditioned chair car service, premium aircraftstyle comforts, onboard infotainment systems, and bio-toilets, it offers passengers a never-before superior travel experience.
The success of the initial two Vande Bharat trains launched in 2019 prompted Railways to upgrade and extend the fleet. Subsequently, these trains are being introduced on various important routes, Odishabeing the latest addition.
The last nine years were about fundamental changes to develop Railways as a contributor to our economy and environment. These have included better time management, Gati Shakti railway cargo terminals, clean stations, upgraded trainsets, advanced infrastructure and improved customer experience.
The current Vande Bharat trains can achieve a top speed of 180 kmph and the next version will reach up to 240 kmph. And we are now the ninth country in the world manufacturing high-speed trainsets. While most other trains take about 55 seconds to attain a speed of 100 kmph, Vande Bharat takes 52 seconds. Also, the noise level inside the Vande Bharat train is only 65 dB compared to 85-90 dB in an aircraft.
These trains have cutting-edge safety features like automatic train protection (ATP) using an indigenously developed ‘Kavach’ signalling system, improved fire detection and suppression system, advanced CCTV surveillance and emergency communication. We are now among the few countries developing ATP technologies like Kavach, which sends real-time updates and alerts to the locomotive pilot about upcoming signals and speed restrictions. In the event of a non-response, it automatically activates the braking action. This system is being integrated with the Modern Train Control System and will soon be deployed to the whole railway network, significantly improving our safety. Implementing technologies like Kavach will be a significant milestone in our Vikas Yatra.
In line with the PM’s vision of a complete transformation of Indian Railways, Vande Bharat Express matches global standards of performance, safety and passenger comfort. By setting such an international benchmark, Railways is all set to move ahead with his mantra of Make in India, Make for World.
Instead of looking at only short-term changes, Railways is undertaking several strategic interventions and reforms to build a sustainable knowledge-sharing platform to guide us and spearhead the revolution in our locomotive industry.
The success of Vande Bharat trains has also drawn the attention of various countries, which will pave the way for potential collaboration and export opportunities. Our trainsets will soon be ready for global tracks. It will represent India’s new way of working, a new way of operations, and a new way of designing, planning and executing the most complex projects.
With the firm commitment of PM Modi to Reform, Perform & Transform, Railways is aiming to transform the travel experience of over 2 crore passengers moving with it daily. The development journey of 21st-century India is unstoppable. Indian Railways will surely experience a transformation with modern and world-class Vande Bharat trains moving us towards Viksit Bharat by 2047.