In a significant move to revolutionize rail travel in India, the Indian Railways is gearing up to launch 60 cutting-edge Vande Bharat Express trains in 2024, according to insider sources. This initiative is part of the government’s broader vision to enhance connectivity and provide faster, more comfortable transportation for passengers across 14 states and two Union Territories.
The railway authorities are set to take delivery of nearly 70 new Vande Bharat trains this year, with around 60 scheduled to be introduced before November 15, spanning new routes carefully selected through collaborative discussions involving state governments, Indian Railways, and independent consultants.
Routes have been meticulously chosen to ensure the long-term viability of Vande Bharat trains, with 35 pairs already identified and case studies underway for an additional 50 city pairs. Some of the notable proposed routes include Jammu–Srinagar, Ahmedabad–Mumbai Central, and Pune–Belagavi, among others.
In response to growing demand, the Railway Ministry has tasked Zonal Railways with identifying viable Origin-Destination (OD) pairs, emphasizing the need for strategic planning based on passenger demand. Moreover, there are considerations to extend Vande Bharat services to areas with limited air connectivity, making rail travel a more accessible option.
States like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala have actively engaged with Indian Railways, proposing potential routes. The railway network aims to launch 18 new routes by June, followed by four new routes every fortnight.
Gujarat is slated to receive two new Vande Bharat Express trains connecting Vadodara to Pune. Additionally, work is nearing completion for the launch of Vande Bharat Trains along the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link.
The ambitious plan aligns with the Central Government’s vision, articulated by Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, to run 4,500 Vande Bharat trains by 2047. Contracts for 402 Vande Bharat Trains have already been awarded, and deliveries are expected to be completed by 2027. The introduction of these high-tech trains, manufactured not only in ICF Chennai but also in Haryana’s Sonipat and Maharashtra’s Latur, reflects a commitment to Prime Minister Modi’s vision of connecting every corner with Vande Bharat trains.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav anticipates the launch of two to three train sets per week from railway stables by the next year, further accelerating the pace of this transformative initiative.
The first Vande Bharat train, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, showcases the technological prowess of these semi-high-speed trains with 16 self-propelled coaches, operating on a distributed traction power system for enhanced acceleration and deceleration compared to traditional trains.
This ambitious project underscores the Indian Railways’ commitment to modernize and elevate the rail travel experience for millions of passengers across the country.