The New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, India’s first indigenously built semi-high train which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, will now operate as the Tejas Express from February 15 to March 31.
In a letter dated February 10, the Northern Railways said: “In reference to your letter under reference (ii), Railway Board vide letter under reference (i) has clarified regarding running of New Delhi-Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat from February 15 till March 31 this year.”
While confirming the development, a Northern Railway official said the train will be operated by the Indian Railways only and that there will be no difference in the fares.
The Indian Railways is currently operating four pairs of Tejas Express services, which were introduced in the last three years.
Two of these, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Karmali Tejas Express and Chennai Egmore-Madurai Jn Tejas Express are being run by the Indian Railways.
While the other two Tejas trains, the Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas Express and Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Tejas Express, are operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
With the addition of the New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express as Tejas Express, the Railways will operate three Tejas Express trains.
The Vande Bharat Express was dedicated to the nation by Modi on February 15, 2019, and it started its commercial run from New Delhi to Varanasi two days later.
It covers the distance between New Delhi and Varanasi in eight hours and runs on all days of the week, except Monday and Thursday.
It has 16 air-conditioned coaches.
All the coaches have a stainless steel car body equipped with automatic doors with sliding footsteps, onboard computers for train control and remote monitoring.
The gleaming blue-nosed train comes with the best amenities, including high-speed on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature.
The train has two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each. The executive class coaches have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.
The Railways had introduced another Vande Bharat Express train between Delhi and Katra on October 5, 2019.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)