The country’s fastest and first engineless train – the Vande Bharat Express aka Train 18 was flagged off by PM Modi yesterday and made an inaugural run from Varanasi to Delhi.
The launch of Train 18 on Friday, a day after the Pulwama attack remained at the centre of the inaugural run of India’s fastest train. At 130 kmph speed, the Train 18 made a run from Varanasi to the national capital, but more than that, it made an emblematic run showing how the nation cannot be beaten down by any cowardly terror attack. Minus the decorations, the Vande Bharat Express launch set a much-needed tone of strength for the nation in the dark hours of grief for the loss of such a huge number of security personnel’s lives in Kashmir.
Speaking at the flagging-off event, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said how the train is sending out a message that “India’s people and its armed forces do not cow down before terror”. Although the entire Train 18 launch event was toned down and made a rather simple affair by dropping off all the celebratory elements, the event was a memoire of how Mumbai was back to work from the very next day after the 26/11 terror attack – speaking volumes of how terror cannot stop India and Indians.
Train 18 is an indigenously-built “semi-high speed” train with a top speed of 180 km per hour, making it the fastest-on-rail in India; and for the maiden run, it touched up to the speed of 130 km per hour on Friday. Encouraged by the response that the train received, the Railway Ministry has already ordered a hundred such trains to the manufacturer – Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, and these semi-high speed trains will soon start running in all regions of the country.