After performing Heeraben's cremation, PM virtually launches Vande Bharat Express
Just hours after performing his mother Heeraben's last rites in Gujarat's Gandhinagar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Raj Bhavan in Ahmedabad to virtually flag off West Bengal's first Vande Bharat Express connecting New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Howrah on Friday morning. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and other top leaders were present at the event in Howrah.
Why does this story matter?
- Indian Railways announced the nation's first independently built engine-less train, Vande Bharat Express, in 2019 and acknowledged its Make in India status.
- The first train under this initiative ran between Varanasi and Delhi.
- This is also the first engine-less train built in the country and the quickest one, with a top speed of 180 km/h.
Details on Bengal's Vande Bharat Express
With the latest launch, West Bengal got its first and the nation's seventh Vande Bharat Express. Officials said that the blue-and-white express covers a distance of 564 km in just 7.45 hours. It will have three stoppages at Bolpur, Barsoi, and Malda. The previous Vande Bharat train was inaugurated between Nagpur (Maharashtra)-Bilaspur (Chattisgarh) route on December 11.
Timetable of Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat train
The Vande Bharat train will operate six days a week, except on Wednesdays, and depart from Howrah at 5.50 am to reach NJP by 1.25 pm. The train will leave from NJP at 3.05 pm and arrive at 10.35 pm in Howrah. Modi also laid the foundation for projects worth Rs. 7,800 crore in Bengal, including the redevelopment project of NJP Railway station.
Railways on new modernization journey in next 8 years: PM
"Central govt is making record investment to modernize Indian Railways. Now modern trains like Vande Bharat Express, Tejas Express, Humsafar Express are being made in India. In the next eight years, we'll see railways on a new modernization journey," PM Modi said.
Visuals of PM Modi flagging off the train
PM Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express connecting Howrah to New Jalpaiguri, in West Bengal, via video conferencing. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw other leaders present at the event in Howrah. pic.twitter.com/YFuoltdslX— ANI (@ANI) December 30, 2022
Your mother means our mother: Banerjee to PM Modi
During the event, Mamata Banerjee conveyed her condolence to PM Modi and said, "your mother means our mother." "Today is a sad day for you personally and it's a great loss of your personal life. I pray to God, may God give you strength and bless you so that you can love your mother with your action and activities," the Bengal CM added.
List of accidents involving Vande Bharat Express
Over the past last months, Vande Bharat trains have been involved in numerous accidents. One of the currently-operational trains on the Mumbai-Gandhinagar route ran over a 54-year-old lady near Gujarat's Anand railway station while she was crossing the train tracks. In October, the train crashed into a herd of buffaloes and a cow in Gujarat and damaged the front part of its engine.