India has been abuzz with discussions about a particular train that has garnered the most attention lately – the Vande Bharat Express. Launched in February 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this train connects Varanasi and the national capital, Delhi. Since its inception, the Vande Bharat Express has paved the way for a total of 34 similar trains running across the country. However, until now, these trains have been limited to air-conditioned chair cars, which come at a slightly higher fare than regular trains. To make this revolutionary train accessible to the common man, Indian Railways is soon launching its non-AC version, named the Vande Sadharan. Let’s explore what makes this Vande Sadharan train special.
The Vande Bharat train (also known as Train 18) was India’s first semi-high-speed train. Following this success, Indian Railways is preparing a non-AC version of this train known as the Vande Sadharan or Non-AC Push Pull Train. This means that the train has engines at both ends, allowing it to run in either direction. It is expected to be introduced by the end of this year, with trials likely to commence by the end of this month.
The Vande Sadharan train is being manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai. The train set is ready and comprises 22 coaches with locomotives at both ends. It includes 12 sleeper class coaches, 8 general coaches, and 2 guard coaches. Special locomotives for the Vande Sadharan are being produced at the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW).
The journey of the Vande Bharat Express began in February 2019 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first train on the Varanasi-New Delhi route. Since then, the Vande Bharat Express has been connecting New Delhi to Mata Vaishno Devi and Gandhi Nagar from Mumbai Central. As mentioned earlier, a total of 34 pairs of Vande Bharat trains are currently operational across the country.
Indian Railways is also rapidly working on the sleeper version and the metro version of the Vande Bharat train. Recently, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw shared concept photos of the sleeper version of the train, which is expected to arrive by March next year. This train will consist of 16 coaches, including 11 AC 3-tier, 4 AC 2-tier, and 1 First AC coach. The set for this train is expected to be ready by March, after which the train will undergo testing. Simultaneously, preparations for the Vande Metro are also underway, with hopes of its introduction by February-March.