Vande Bharat Express trains are running at a speed much lower than permissible, RTI reveals
Vande Bharat Express trains are the most sought-after trains in India these days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off every train in this category. The trains have been advertised as semi-high-speed trains, which can reach a top speed of 180 kmph. Indian Railways has given permission for trains to run at 130 kph. However, in a shocking RTI revelation, it has come to light that the train is not running even at that speed. Rather, Vande Bharat trains are running at a speed much lower than 100 kmph.
Madhya Pradesh’s Chandra Shekar Gaur filed a RTI, asking from the government the speed of Vande Bharat trains.
In its reply, the railway ministry said that the average speed of Vande Bharat trains in India was 84.48 kmph in 2021–22, while it decreased to 81.38 kmph in 2022–23. The ministry said that the poor conditions of the railway tracks was the cause for the slow speed of the train.
Fastest Vande Bharat Expresstrain
The ministry says the highest average speed of the Vande Bharat train during this period was 95 kmph, attained by the country’s first Vande Bharat Express train, the New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, which was launched in 2019.
The RTI further revealed that the Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj)-Hazrat Nizamuddin Vande Bharat Express comes in a close second, maintaining an average speed of 94 kmph.
“One has to understand that no mode of transport can maintain its maximum speed throughout its journey. The condition of the surface it is running on determines its speed. The average speed of each Vande Bharat train in every section is faster than the fastest train of that section. For example, it is running with the maximum permissible speed of 160 kmph between Agra Cantt and Tughlakabad,” a Railway official said.
Even though Vande Bharat trains are running at a much slower speed than stipulated, the ministry says that their average speed is better than Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains due to their faster acceleration/deceleration.
Officials said while these trains are built to run at high speed, the rail network is also being upgraded so that Vande Bharat-like trains can attain higher speeds in the future.
Slowest Vande Bharat train
The Mumbai CSMT-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat Express has the lowest average speed of just 64 kmph.
The manufacture of the first version of Vande Bharat train — called “Train-2018” — was completed in October 2018. During the test runs, the train achieved an operational speed of 180 kmph.
Railways has ambitious plans for these trains — 15 of which are currently operational on prime routes, cutting the average travel time by a few hours on several of them.
While the current iteration of the trains are only chair cars, the national transporter plans to introduce sleeper versions soon.
The advanced version of Vande Bharat trains will be able to attain a maximum speed of 200 kmph.