In a significant expansion to the Vande Bharat Express network, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched nine new semi-high-speed trains on September 24, 2023. This move will increase the total number of Vande Bharat Express trains to 34, up from the existing 25.
The new routes will connect several major cities: Ranchi-Howrah, Tirunelveli-Chennai, Patna-Howrah, Rourkela-Puri, Udaipur-Jaipur, Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram, Jamnagar-Ahmedabad, Vijayawada-Chennai, and Hyderabad-Bengaluru.
Notably, the last Vande Bharat train was flagged off two months ago in July. The forthcoming launch will especially benefit Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the latter being poll-bound. Moreover, South India is slated to receive two of these trains, one of which will showcase the new orange-grey paint, distinguishing it from the traditional white-blue design of its predecessors.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vishnaw elucidated that the new saffron hue was inspired by India’s national flag, the ‘Tricolour’.
The Vande Bharat Express currently services 50 routes across India. Geographically, four operate in the Northern Zone, three in the Southern and Central Zones, while two serve the Western, West Central, and North Western Railway Zones. The remaining railway zones each possess one Vande Bharat train.
Central Railway’s recent press release highlighted the popularity and financial success of the Vande Bharat trains. Between August 15 and September 8, the trains ferried 1.22 lakh passengers, generating a revenue of Rs 10.72 crores. The Bilaspur-Nagpur Express witnessed the highest occupancy rate at 122.56%, while the Madgaon-CSMT Express recorded the lowest at 75.50%.