Union Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off Vande Bharat Express from the New Delhi Railway Station today. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Amit Shah said it was a 'big gift' for Jammu and Kashmir's development. "Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express is a big gift for Jammu and Kashmir's development and for promoting religious tourism," said Shah. At the flagging off ceremony, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Dr Harsh Vardhan were also present.
"Railways will connect country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari before 15th August, 2022," said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
This is the second Vande Bharat Express. The first one runs in between Delhi and Varanasi. The first commercial run of the train will start from 5th October and booking of tickets has opened on IRCTC website. The train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra to eight hours from 12 hours.
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm. En route, the train will halt at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the return journey the same day, train number 22440 Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from the Katra Railway Station at 3 pm to reach the New Delhi Railway Station at 11 pm.
Last month, Indian Railways Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said that the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat train trials have been finished.
"It will be a gift to the pilgrims and it will begin plying from Navratras. We are trying to upgrade our busy routes. Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah will be ready by December 2021," Yadav said.
"40 Vande Bharat trains will come out by 2022. New specifications are being worked on. There would be transparency, it will be a 'Make in India' project," Yadav further said.
-With inputs from Agencies