NEW DELHI: Bookings have started for the first commercial run of the Vande Bharat Express, billed as India's fastest train, on February 17 between Delhi and Varanasi, railways said Thursday. Tickets can be bought over the counter or booked on irctc.co.in.
Train 18, which was recently renamed as Vande Bharat Express by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, became the country's fastest train by hitting speeds of over 180 kmph during a trial run on a section of the Delhi-Varanasi route.
However, speed restrictions on the route will mean that the new train set can hit a maximum speed of 130 kmph.
The train will leave the national capital at 6 am and reach Varanasi at 2 pm. On the same day, it will leave Varanasi at 3pm and reach Delhi at 11 pm. The Vande Bharat Express will operate for five days in a week, except on Monday and Thursday.
From Delhi to Varanasi, an air-conditioned chair car ticket will cost ₹1,760 and the executive class fare will be ₹3,310, while in the return journey, a chair car ticket will cost ₹1,700 and that of a seat in the executive class ₹3,260. Both fares are inclusive of catering charges.
The chair car fares are 1.4 times the base price of Shatabdi trains running the same distance and that of the executive class 1.3 times of a first class air-conditioned ticket in the premium train.
The Vande Bharat Express is a all air-conditioned luxury train and will take around eight hours to travel between Delhi and Varanasi, halting at only two stations - Kanpur and Allahabad.
The tatkal quota would be five per cent of the total accommodation for the respective classes on the Vande Bharat Express, and no concessions or a different fare for a child passenger are being offered, the railways said. "However, passes of MPs, coupons of MLAs, other coupons, military/para military warrants and others having fully reimbursable fare to railways shall be allowed. Booking shall be allowed only on duty passes for railway servants. "No other railway passes like privilege, complimentary, post retirement complimentary passes shall be permissible in this train," a railway order said. The ticket fares between Delhi and Kanpur will be ₹1,090 in the chair car (CC) class and ₹2,105 in the executive class (EC) for a distance of 447 km, it said.
Between Delhi and Allahabad (642 km), the ticket price for CC class will be ₹1,395 and ₹2,750 for the EC class, Kanpur and Allahabad (195 km), the price for CC will be ₹595 and for EC ₹1,170, the order said. The price of ticket between Kanpur and Varanasi (319 km) will be ₹1,020 and ₹1,815 for CC and EC classes respectively. The train will have differently priced meals as well, it said.
Tickets include meal charges.Passengers travelling from New Delhi to Varanasi in the executive class will be charged ₹399 for morning tea, breakfast and lunch, and travellers in the chair car ₹344 for the same.
Those travelling from New Delhi to Kanpur and Prayagraj will be charged ₹155 and ₹122 for executive and CC classes, respectively. From Varanasi to New Delhi, passengers ₹349 in the executive class and ₹288 in chair car, according to the order. Passengers cannot opt out of meals. But those travelling from Allahabad to Varanasi and on the return journey Varanasi to Allahabad can opt out of meals, saving ₹222 on CC tickets and ₹244 on EC tickets by opting out of the meals provided by the IRCTC. The Vande Bharat Express was manufactured under the 'Make in India' initiative at Indian Coach Factory in Chennai.