Be it the reinforcement of our national borders with high-quality Larsen & Toubro manufactured K-9 Vajra Self Propelled Howitzer or facilitation of fast public transport by the production of Train 18, “Make in India” initiative gave India a breakthrough in its quest to become self-sufficient and self- reliable in all segments. The year 2019 is gradually unveiling all the major ventures working under the “Make in India” initiative of Government of India. Launched on September 25, 2014, this Swadeshi initiative covering 25 sectors gave India the first private Armoured Systems Complex facility at Hazira, Gujarat owned by Larsen and Toubro started from January 19, 2019, and on January 27, 2019, it gave India the fastest engine-less train, Train 18.
Scheduled to run on the New Delhi-Varanasi route via Kanpur and Prayagraj, Train 18 got renamed as Vande Bharat Express on January 27, 2019. With looks resembling with that of a bullet train, Vande Bharat Express is the first train ever produced or imported to India with a maximum attainable speed of 180 kmph (110 mph). Integral Coach Factory, Chennai started the production process of the Train 18 and completed all its stages of designing, planning, production and testing within a span of eighteen months giving India a better and efficient replacement of Shatabdi Express of the route it is planned to be operated. Some basic information regarding Vande Bharat Express is as follows-
|Type||Indian semi-high speed intercity electric multiple unit|
|Formation||Driving Motor – Trailor – Motor Coach – Trailor|
|Manufacturer||Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai|
|Unit Production Cost||Rs. 97 crore|
|Capacity||16 coaches with sitting capacity of 1128 passengers|
|Maximum Speed||130-180 kmph (Average – 160 kmph)|
|Track Gauge||1676 mm Broad Gauge (Indian Gauge)|
Addressing a press conference at New Delhi, Honorable Minister of Railways and Coal, Mr. Piyush Goyal stated, “Train 18 will now be known as Vande Bharat Express. It’s a train built completely in India by Indian engineers, in a span of 18 months. It will ply from Delhi to Varanasi. It is an example that it’s possible to make world-class trains under Make in India.”
“It is completely made in India and various names were suggested by the general public but we have decided to name it Vande Bharat Express. A gift on the occasion of the Republic Day to people. Will request the Prime Minister to flag it off,” Goyal said.
The capability of the Vande Bharat Express to achieve a maximum speed of up to 160 kmph has reduced the travelling time by 25% to 45%, which makes it the second greatest leap of Indian Railways after the successful production and performance of Rajdhani Express.
Equipped with ultramodern features, the train holds supreme state-of-the-art passenger amenities like on-board Wi-Fi connectivity; GPS based passenger information system, bio-vacuum toilets and rotating chairs in executive class coaches. Its intelligent braking system with power regeneration features makes the train energy efficient in the run making Vande Bharat Express a cost-efficient, energy, and environment-friendly semi-high speed train of India.