Jharkhand’s first Vande Bharat Express, which is scheduled to operate between Ranchi and Patna, is likely to become operational by the end of this month, officials of the South-Eastern Railways (SER) hinted on Tuesday.
“Preparations have been completed from our side. The train is likely to become operational by May end. We are awaiting formal communication from the Railway Board in this regard,” a senior railway official said.
Ranchi divisional railway manager Pradeep Gupta said, “It is certain that a Vande Bharat train will operate out of the Ranchi railway division. But we are yet to receive a formal communication from the higher-ups about its route, date of commencement of operations and other details.”
Gupta’s statement came amid speculations that the train was to be launched on May 10.
The Vande Bharat will cover the distance between Ranchi and Patna in around six hours. At present, trains operating between the stations cover the distance in a little over nine hours.
Originally, the division had zeroed in on the Ranchi-Howrah route for running the Vande Bharat train in the 2020-21 financial year by replacing the Shatabdi Express. However, insiders said the route was scrapped owing to the topographical challenges between Ranchi and Muri railway stations.
The Vande Bharat train will be maintained by the Ranchi railway division at its depot in Hatia. “A separate maintenance line has been commissioned for the train. The training of the depot staff has also been completed,” a senior official at the Ranchi railway division told TOI on Tuesday.
Grapevine has it that the railways is considering to run the train through the Tantisilwai-Barkakana-Hazaribagh-Koderma route.
The eight-coach train, which can run at a speed of 180 km an hour, operates on 14 routes across the country.