Just A day after it was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s fastest train, Vande Bharat Express, broke down on Saturday morning, leaving it stranded. The snag occurred around 15km away from the Tundla junction in Uttar Pradesh, around 200 km away from the national capital. According to railway officials, the train began making a “weird noise” early on Saturday morning after which its breaks jammed in one of the trailing coaches. Four coaches turned ‘dead load’, forcing loco pilots to halt. They said that one of the possible reasons for the snag was the train hitting a cow on the tracks. The passengers on board, including railway officials and journalists, have been shifted to a different train.
The train was making its way back to New Delhi, from where it was launched on Friday. It is set to begin its commercial run from Sunday. The engineers on board got in touch with the principal chief mechanical engineer of the Northern Railway and the train has been restarted, officials said. They further said that the return journey was taking place at night, which is not the normal run time as the train will operate during the day, adding that cattle runs and the possibility of fog are higher at night. Officials are likely to get the Train 18 to the nearest maintenance shed, if not New Delhi.
The engineless train, formerly known as Train 18, had rolled out of the New Delhi railway station at 11.19 am on Friday for its inaugural journey to Varanasi. It had hit a top speed of 130 km per hour in its first journey. Speaking to reporters on board the train, railway minister Piyush Goyal had said this state of the art train will offer a convenient experience to passengers and reduce travel time on the New Delhi-Varanasi route to eight hours compared to 13-14 hours other trains take for the trip. Manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Vande Bharat Express had all safety clearances, trials, and tests in place. It had covered a distance of 7000 km in its three trial runs.