Tickets of the first commercial run of Vande Bharat Express on February 17 have been completely sold out, a senior railway official said Friday.
The bookings for the train, which will run five days a week between Delhi and Varanasi and back, began Thursday.
“The first commercial run of the train on February 17 is fully booked. The train is 100 per cent occupied on its to and fro journeys as of 11.15 am Thursday,” said Girish Pillai, Member, Traffic, Railway board.
From Delhi to Varanasi, an air-conditioned chair car ticket will cost Rs 1,760 and the executive class fare will be Rs 3,310, while on the return, a chair car ticket will cost Rs 1,700 and that of a seat in the executive class Rs 3,260. Both fares are inclusive of catering charges.
The chair car fares are 1.4 times the base price of Shatabdi trains running the same distance and that of the executive class 1.3 times of a first class air-conditioned ticket in the premium train.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal who is on-board the train on its inaugural run said the tendering process for 30 more similar train sets has begun.
India’s semi-high speed Train-18, with its maximum speed of 180 kmph, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from New Delhi on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on board the Vande Bharat express, Goyal said the Train 18 will offer a convenient experience to passengers and also reduce travel time on New Delhi-Varanasi route to eight hours compared to 13-14 hours other trains take for the trip.
“The fastest train on Delhi-Varanasi route (776 km) takes 11.5 hours, this train will eight hours,” said Pillai.
Tickets include meal charges.Passengers travelling from New Delhi to Varanasi in the executive class will be charged Rs 399 for morning tea, breakfast and lunch, and travellers in the chair car Rs 344 for the same.
Those travelling from New Delhi to Kanpur and Prayagraj will be charged Rs 155 and Rs 122 for executive and CC classes, respectively. From Varanasi to New Delhi, passengers Rs 349 in the executive class and Rs 288 in chair car, according to the order.
Passengers cannot opt out of meals. But those travelling from Allahabad to Varanasi and on the return journey Varanasi to Allahabad can opt out of meals, saving Rs 222 on CC tickets and Rs 244 on EC tickets by opting out of the meals provided by the IRCTC.
“I have started the tendering process of 30 more such trains and have taken the permission of the PM to make 100 such trains to start semi-high speed train services in other parts of the country,” he said.
He said several routes have been identified.
“Also, we will modernise tracks in some routes to support such high speed trains. Our vision is that slowly the ‘golden quadrilateral’ and its two laterals are prepared for 160 kmps speed,” he said.
“It is a manifestation of our engineering talent and is a pride of the railways and the country. It’s a matter of pride that the train set has been built by our engineers and workers. Its top speed is 180 km,” Goyal said.