STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: The much-awaited second Vande Bharat Express will run on the high traffic Delhi-Katra route three days a week, likely from next month, sources said on Monday. The Delhi-Katra route was chosen by the Railway Board in a bid to capitalise on the high traffic volume owing to the Vaishno Devi Shrine pilgrimage, they said. The high-speed train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on the way to Vaishno Devi Shrine, to eight hours from 12 hours it takes currently. The first Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 was launched on the Delhi-Varanasi route. The second Vande Bharat Express is proposed to be run three days a week, which could be extended up to five, they said. “The train will run every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for now. However, depending on the demand, we might extend it by two more days,” said the source. The train will leave from Delhi at 06:00 hours and reach Katra at 14:00 hours. On its return journey, it will leave Katra the same day at 15:00 hours and reach Delhi at 23:00 hours. Running at a maximum speed of 130 kmph, the train will have around two-minute halts each at Ambala, Ludhiana, and Jammu Tawi, before Katra.
The train has undergone trials on the Delhi-Katra route, which was chosen among others such as Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Chandigarh that were also in the contention for the premium service.
Unlike its earlier version, which was criticised for lack of adequate space for pantry, the upgraded train has more space to store meals for passengers. It has adjustable seats and improved washbasins, a sturdy aluminium-clad nose cover to avoid damage due to cattle run-over and special anti-spall film on windows to guard against stone pelting.
The first Train 18 was launched on February 15 on the Delhi-Varanasi route. It runs five days a week. Currently, the second train is undergoing additional trials.
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