From April 1, Indian Railways will operate the 11th Vande Bharat Express train between Bhopal (Rani Kamlapati railway station) and New Delhi, covering a distance of 709km via Agra Cantt station in seven hours and 50 minutes.
Vande Bharat Express is expected to be one hour quicker than the existing Shatabdi Express, but more importantly, it will operate from the Bhopal division in the early morning hours — a long-pending demand of commuters who often had to visit the national capital in one day advance to board international flights departing afternoon onwards.
According to railways, the 16-coach train set with a new design propulsion system and bogies will cruise at a maximum speed of 160kmph over Palwal – Agra section, 130 kmph between Agra – Lalitpur section and 120kmph between Lalitpur – Bina section of the North Central Railway (NCR) zone.
First for the Western central railway (WCR) zone, Vande Bharat express will operate six-day a week barring Saturday, unlike Shatabdi which operates 365 days.
“There is another existing express which departs for Delhi at 5.55am on Saturday, therefore it was decided to give Vande Bharat express a day rest to avoid timing clash, but more importantly the 24-hour pause of Vande Bharat express operation will give railways time to overhaul the train, inspect and strengthen the rail track,” a railway official said.
The proposed schedule of Vande Bharat Express train operation includes the express departing Rani Kamlapati railway station at 5.55am, then it will take a five-minute halt at Agra Cantt railway station at 11.40am and reach New Delhi at 1.45pm.
On the return journey, the train will depart New Delhi at 2.45pm and reach Agra Cantt at 4.45pm and terminate at Rani Kamlapati railway station at 10.45pm.
The fare of Vande Bharat Express is expected to be 10-15 per cent higher in comparison to the Shatabdi Express ticket.
“The proposed schedule and fare chart is yet to be approved by the railway board,” an official said.
With the introduction of Vande Bharat Express on the 138-km-long Palwal-Agra Cantt section of NCR, the corridor will become the only track in Indian railways to operate all the fastest trains including Gatimaan Express, Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express, Duronto and others.
The NCR zone has already extensive experience operating the Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi via Prayagraj.