The Vande Bharat train is 100 times less noisy than a plane, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday as he flagged off the upgraded version of the train from Gandhinagar to Mumbai in Ahmedabad. Modi, who also inaugurated the phase-1 of the Ahmedabad Metro Friday, said a record 32 kilometres of metro rail were being operationalised at one go for the first time in the history of metro operations in India, thanks to the “double-engine sarkar” of Gujarat and the Centre.
Before flagging off both trains at an event in Ahmedabad Friday, PM Modi took the upgraded version of the Vande Bharat train from Gandhinagar and travelled to Kalupur railway station in Ahmedabad. From there, he took the Ahmedabad Metro to Doordarshan tower metro station near Thaltej, where he participated in an event held for inaugurating both the trains.
“The noise inside an aeroplane is 100 times more than that inside the Vande Bharat train. It is difficult to talk inside an aeroplane. But I was able to easily talk inside the train. There was no noise. It means that if air travellers get to know of the noise feature, I can say for sure that they will opt for the Vande Bharat train instead of aeroplane,” PM Modi told an audience in Ahmedabad where he formally inaugurated both trains.
“The (Vande Bharat) train that will link Ahmedabad and Mumbai will shorten the travel time between the two big cities and make travel comfortable,” Modi said, comparing the speed and comfort provided by the upgraded version of the train.
“An express train takes 7-8.5 hours or more to reach Mumbai from Ahmedabad. Shatabdi train, too, takes between 6-7.5 hours. But Vande Bharat will take a maximum of 5.5 hours to cover the distance between the two cities. Slowly, more progress will be made,” he said.
According to the IRCTC website, the Vande Bharat Express will take 5 hours and 45 minutes to cover the distance between Ahmedabad and Mumbai Central. So far, the fastest train between the two cities was Tejas that took 6 hours 25 minutes. Shatabdi takes 6 hours and 35 minutes, while Duronto takes 6 hours and 45 minutes. Tejas, Shatabdi and Duronto have dynamic pricing.
This will be the third Vande Bharat train to run in the country. The first two trains were launched in 2019 and are currently operating between New Delhi-Varanasi and New Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra. “Compared to other trains, more people can travel by this train,” PM Modi said.
Narrating an interaction at the Varanasi railway station, PM Modi said “I was told that the maximum tickets sold were that of Vande Bharat. I asked how that is possible and I was told that poor people and labourers opt to travel by this train as they can carry more luggage in the train and as it reaches quickly, they can use the time to earn back the cost of the ticket. This is the strength of Vande Bharat,” he remarked.
An air conditioned chair car ticket in Vande Bharat costs Rs 1,385 between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, while a similar AC Chair car ticket on Gujarat Express (for a 9 hour journey) costs Rs 685.
At the inaugural event, PM Modi emphasised how the Ahmedabad metro project gained momentum after the BJP government came to power in the Centre. “I also want to tell you how Ahmedabad benefited from a double-engine government. When the overhead space over the Ahmedabad-Botad railway line had to be used for the metro project, the Centre quickly gave the permission. This sped up the work on the Vasana-Old High Court route of metro,” PM Modi said.
Later, during a stopover at Abu Road in Rajasthan where loud speakers can’t be used after 10 pm, the Prime Minister briefly addressed a crowd without using a microphone before prostrating thrice before the people.
“I arrived late and it is 10 pm. My aatma (soul) tells me that I should follow the law and rules, hence I apologise to all of you. But I assure you, I will come here again. And I will repay your love with interest,” the PM said.