The Secunderabad-Vizag Vande Bharat Express was flagged off virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 15 January at 10:30 am. This is the country’s eighth Vande Bharat Express — and the second in South India after the one on the Mysuru-Chennai route.
Though an invitation was extended to him for the ceremony, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao did not attend the event.
However, two of his Cabinet colleagues — Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav — were present at the Secunderabad railway station on the occasion.
Union Minister of Railways Ashiwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, and BJP MPs Bandi Sanjay Kumar and K Laxman were also present at platform No 10 from where the train departed for Visakhapatnam after the flagging off.
Prime Minister Modi said the Secunderabad-Vizag train — the first Vande Bharat to be launched in 2023 — was a gift to the two Telugu States on Sankranti.
Dwelling on the priority given to the railways in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Modi said that only ₹250 crore were spent before 2014 on the development of railways in Telangana. But after the BJP coming to power, the Central government had spent ₹3,000 crore.
Plans have also been chalked out to complete the electrification of the railway lines in Telangana and, for the first time, railway connectivity was provided to Medak district.
He noted the Vande Bharat Express would reduce travel time of the passengers to a large extent.
Secunderabad-Vizag Vande Bharat details
The 16-coach, indigenously-made train — lined with red and blue seats, and swanky interiors — has a seating capacity of over 1,100 passengers. It can travel at speeds between 130 km and 160 km. There are 14 AC Chair Car coaches and two Executive AC Chair Car coaches.
Once commercial operations begin, the Vande Bharat train will leave the Secunderabad railway station at 3.15 pm and cover the almost 700-km run to Vizag in a little over eight hours.
The Vande Bharat from Vizag will leave at 5:45 am and reach the Secunderabad railway station at around 2:45 pm on the same day.
The intermediate stops of the train — which will run every day, except Sunday — include Warangal and Khammam in Telangana, and Vijayawada and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
On the day of the launch, however, it will stop at several other stations, including Cherlapally, Bhongir, Jangaon, Madhira, Nuzvid, Tadepalligudem, Samarlakota, Tuni, Anakapalli, and Duvvada for the convenience of regular train travellers.
All set to serve the people of Telangana & Andhra Pradesh!
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) January 14, 2023
- Indigenously manufactured at Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai
- Maximum Speed 160 km/h
- Maximum test speed 180 km/h
- Equipped with 32-inch LCD TV
- Facility of CCTV cameras in all coaches
- Photo-catalytic UV Air Purification System for cleaner air
- Interconnection of all coaches through sealed gangway
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) to provide better passenger comfort
- Total 16 chair cars in the train
- Fully Air Conditioned
- Emergency lighting
- Charging points under each seat
- LED lighting
- Divyangjan (disabled) friendly
- GPS based Passenger Information System Regenerative Breaking System
- Bio-vacuum toilets
- Mini pantry in each coach
- Revolving seats in Executive Class
- Indirect LED lighting for aircraft-like ambience
The Secunderabad-Vizag Vande Bharat Express will reduce the travel time by four hours compared to other express trains operating between the two cities, including super-fast trains like Duronto Express and Visakha Express.
During its maiden voyage, students from central government-sponsored schools, including Kendriya Vidyalaya, who won in various contests organised by the Railways, will board in groups with their parents.
Commercial operations will begin on 16 January. The South Central Railway will issue a notification enabling passengers to buy tickets for the Vande Bharat Express.
Secunderabad-Vizag Vande Bharat express ticket fare
The ticket fare from Secunderabad to Visakhapatnam:
Executive Chair Car: ₹.3,120
Chair Car: ₹1,665
The Vande Bharat ticket fare from Secunderabad to Vijayawada:
Executive Chair: ₹1,775
Chair Car: ₹905
The train consists of 14 AC Chair Car coaches and two executive AC Chair Car coaches with a total capacity of 1,128 passengers.
On 12 January, despite the train being under constant surveillance by railway security personnel, stones were pelted at it in Visakhapatnam during its trial run.
The video shows that a man intentionally pelted stones on Vande Bharat, it might have been on instructions of someone but everyone should remember that through such acts, the name of our entire state get affected.
It is our collective responsibility to take care of gvt property. pic.twitter.com/QDwsaJjHpz
— Vishnu Vardhan Reddy (@SVishnuReddy) January 13, 2023
Three persons — G Shankar, T Chandu and P Raj Kumar — were later arrested by the railway police for attacking the train and damaging the windowpanes.
The police arrested the trio based on footage from surveillance cameras in Kancharapalem in Visakhapatnam.
The next route perhaps?
On 13 January, RTI activist and project manager at YouRTI.in Kareem Ansari filed an RTI with the Secunderabad Divisional Railway Manager of the South Central Railway.
He sought information regarding plans to introduce a Vande Bharat Express between Secunderabad and Bengaluru. He also sought information regarding whether this train would pass through Kurnool.
Ansari tweeted a copy of the formal response he received, which stated, “No such information is available in this office.”
An RTI reveals that.
still, there is no information available on the Vanda Bharat train at @drmsecunderabad.
I requested 2 @AshwiniVaishnaw to introduce at least one Vanda Bharat train from sec bad to Bangalore. There is huge passenger traffic between the two cities @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/6IB5Hf1F5C
— Kareem Ansari کریم انصاری (@activistkareem) January 14, 2023