The Madgaon (Goa)-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express train completed its inaugural run on Tuesday night, covering a distance of nearly 600km between the two destinations in 10.15 hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off the semi high-speed train from Bhopal at 10.50 am, giving Goa its first Vande Bharat Express.
The train departed a few minutes later at 11.05 am from platform number 1 of Madgaon station and reached Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) at 9.20 pm, covering a distance of 586 km in 10.15 hours.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and some other dignitaries were present at Mumbai CSMT to welcome the train.
Its regular services will start from Wednesday (June 28).
At its every halt, the train on the picturesque Konkan Railway route was welcomed by the sound of drum beats with people showering flowers on it and shouting slogans.
According to the Central Railway (CR), the Mumbai-Madgaon Vande Bharat Express (22229/22230) will be operated three times a week during the monsoon months given the difficult terrain and speed curbs on the Konkan route It will run on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Mumbai and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Madgaon during the rainy season, said CR.
The train will run six days a week, expect on Friday, during non-monsoon months.
As per the monsoon timetable, the train will take around 10 hours to cover the distance between India’s financial capital and Madgaon.
It will depart from CSMT at 5.25 am on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and reach Madgaon at 3 pm. The train will leave Madgaon at 12.20 pm on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and l reach Mumbai CSMT at 10.25 pm, said CR.
During the non-monsoon months, the Vande Bharat Express will cover the 586km distance in around 8 hours. It will depart at 5.25 am from Mumbai CSMT and reach Madgaon at 1.10 pm, while it will leave Madgaon at 2.20 pm and reach CSMT at 10.25 pm.
The train has been given seven halts — at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Khed, Ratnagiri, Kankavali and Thivim.
Maharashtra PWD minister Ravindra Chavan travelled on the train from Madgaon during the inaugural run. Shiv Sena (UBT) MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Vinayak Raut, NCP MP Sunil Tatkare and BJP ex-MLA Pramod Jathar were also part of the train’s maiden journey.
When the train reached CSMT, passengers welcomed it with beating of drums, by showering flowers and distributing sweets. Chief Minister Shinde himself went in every coach and welcomed the passengers by giving them flowers and sweets.
Central Railway officials said the train will have eight coaches — seven chair cars (478 seats) and one executive chair car (56 seats) — and it is almost fully booked for the first day of its regular journey (June 28).
According to Konkan Railway officials, the fare for chair car between Mumbai and Madgon is Rs 1,435, while same for the executive chair car is Rs 2,915.
According to IRCTC train booking app, around 10.45 pm, only 67 tickets were available in chair car for June 28 journey and 17 in executive class. Both chair car and executive chair car coaches were waitlisted on September 18, a day before the Ganapati festival.
Thane railway station wore a festive look as hundreds of activists of the ruling BJP and the Opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) gathered in its premises to give a rousing welcome to the Vande Bharat Express train when it arrived at 8.35 pm.
While BJP activists shouted slogans in support of India, the party and PM Modi, Shiv Sena (UBT) members raised slogans hailing their chief Uddhav Thackeray.
BJP activists were led by their Thane city president and MLC Niranjan Davkhare, while the Shiv Sena (UBT) camp was led by Thane MP Rajan Vichare.
Vichare and Davkhare felicitated the train drivers by offering them bouquets, shawl and sweets.
On May 16, railway authorities conducted trials of the Vande Bharat rake between CSMT and Madgaon. During the trial, the train had covered the distance between CSMT and Madgaon in about seven hours.
With the launch of five Vande Bharat Express trains on Tuesday, their total number has gone up to 23.
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