PM Narendra Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express, condemns Pulwama attack
New Delhi : Prime Minister Nanrendra Modi on Friday flagged off India's first semi-high speed train - Vande Bharat Express - to Varanasi from the New Delhi Railway Station at 11:30 AM. During his short speech, he condemned the Pulwama attack and assured the nation an appropriate action.
“PM Modi has given me permission to make 100 more Train 18 like trainsets to run across India in semi high-speed service. We have already started tendering process of 30 more trainsets,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, on board the running Vande Bharat Express after the flag off.
In wake of terror strike in Pulwama and out of respect to the fallen officers, the Indian Railways officials did not celebrate the launch and also avoided decoration of 16 coaches of the train.
The PM arrived at the station after the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting in which Pakistan’s MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status was withdrawn.
Piyush Goyal and other Railway officials travelled with the train to Varanasi.
Modi said that in the five years of the NDA government, the railways has transformed in areas of project execution, speed upgrade, customer service, amenities and other aspects.
“Today one can book 20,000 tickets in a minute on the railway website. Projects are sanctioned in a maximum of six months,” Modi said at the event.
Built at a cost of Rs 97 crore, Train 18 is India’s first seating-only, long distance trainset that runs without a locomotive.
Train 18 recently became India’s fastest train by hitting a top speed of over 180 kmph during a trial run on the Rajdhani-Shatabdi route. In its commercial run, the train will run at 130 kmph.