A day after the Vande Bharat Express was halted on its way from Varanasi to Delhi for two hours, India’s fastest train embarked on its first commercial run today. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal shared a video of the train, also dubbed Train 18, leaving the New Delhi Railway Station, adding that tickets for the next two weeks were already sold out.
“Vande Bharat Express left Delhi for Varanasi today morning on its first commercial run. Tickets sold out for the next two weeks already. Get yours today!” Piyush Goyal tweeted.
The Vande Bharat Express came to a stop for almost two hours on Saturday at the Chamraula station in Uttar Pradesh because of a technical issue caused due to an “external hit”, the Indian Railways said. The incident had triggered a political war of words on Twitter.
“Modiji, I think Make in India needs a serious rethink. Most people feel it has failed. I assure you that we in the Congress are thinking very deeply about how it will be done,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted.
Piyush Goyal was quick with his retort. “Such a shame that you choose to attack the hard work and ingenuity of Indian engineers, technicians and labourers. It is this mindset which needs a reset. ‘Make In India’ is a success and a part of crores of Indian lives. Your family had 6 decades to think, wasn’t that enough?” the Railways Minister had tweeted.
Vande Bharat Express left Delhi for Varanasi today morning on its first commercial run. Tickets sold out for the next two weeks already. Get yours today! pic.twitter.com/LwokUNHRJj
– Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) February 17, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the train on Friday. During the first leg of its trip, the train ran from New Delhi to Varanasi in just eight hours — as compared to the 12-13 hours it takes for the Shatabdi Express to cover the same distance. Its speed was capped at 130 kmph in view of the condition of the tracks, despite topping 180 kmph in trial runs.
However, on its way back, the Vande Bharat Express was forced to a halt about 194 km from Delhi on Saturday morning. The train resumed its journey after repairs, reaching the national capital hours after schedule.
The train will run five days a week.