The first commercial run of the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will be on October 5 with the booking of tickets now being available on the IRCTC website, the Railways said on Sunday. Home Minister Amit Shah will flag off the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express on October 3 from Delhi on its inaugural run. The high-speed train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on the way to Vaishno Devi temple, to eight hours from the current 12 hours. The first Vande Bharat Express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Delhi-Varanasi route.
The Delhi-Katra train will have modifications like more comfortable seats and pantry space while the other express trains will weigh less, consume lesser energy, and will be fit for sleeper coaches, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said. "The Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express has completed all trials and will be run before the festival season begins from October," he said, adding that 40 such trains with sleeper class versions will be ready by 2022.
Piyush Goyal also shared a list of 35 railway stations where the Wi-Fi service was made available on September 17. He also spoke about the Bio-toilets. He tweeted that last week, 1,155 Bio-toiles were installed, raising the total number to 2,22,336 in 62,222 coaches.
Meals onboard the soon-to-be-launched Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 will not be optional for passengers unlike in premium trains such as Shatabdi, Rajdhani, and Duronto Express, where travellers can choose not to take catering services, officials said. However, passengers travelling the last leg on the route of the semi-high speed train - Allahabad to Varanasi - will have the choice of opting out of the meals provided by the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in advance while booking their tickets, sources claimed. This was done to effectively control unfair practices of overcharging, issues of quality as well as quantity and also to avoid wastage of food. This gave the passengers the option to 'not eat' if he does not want the food supplied on board.
(with PTI inputs)