BHUBANESWAR: Odisha will soon get its second Vande Bharat Express soon, said Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw here on Monday.
The railway minister said as per the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the first Vande Bharat Express on May 18, the state will get another semi-high-speed train shortly. The second Vande Bharat will run from Rourkela to Bhubaneswar via Angul, Talcher, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and other places, he said.
Vaishnaw made the announcement while flagging off the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express upgraded with advanced Tejas rakes along with Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at Bhubaneswar railway station.
Vaishnaw said the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani with Tejas rakes will have ultra-modern facilities including automatic entrance doors, passenger announcement and passenger information system (PA/PIS), fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTV cameras, vacuum assisted flushing with bio-toilets, LED lights and modern interiors. The Teja's rakes, intended at providing a better travel experience for passengers on long-distance journeys, will also take the maximum speed of the train to around 160 kmph.
Railway officials said the train during its journey between Bhubaneswar-New Delhi, will have 13 stoppages including at Cuttack, Bhadrak, Balasore, Tata Nagar, Prayagraj Junction and Kanpur Central. After Monday’s trial run, the Rajdhani-Tejas Express will run regularly from August 19.
Vaishnaw said the Narendra Modi government has given utmost importance to the development of railway infrastructure in the state. The railway budget which was around Rs 800-850 crore prior to 2014 has been increased to a staggering Rs 10,000 crore over the years after the NDA government took charge. Similarly, he said, construction of rail lines, which used to be just around 53 km annually has now reached a whopping 459 km per year. Vaishnaw who also holds the communications portfolio said the number of mobile towers in the state which was just 7,562 till 2014, has increased to 26,512 in 2023.
In his address, Pradhan said, “Bhubaneswar railway station is being developed into an iconic railway station at an investment of around Rs 350 crore while work on the development of many other railway stations has also been taken up. It perhaps for the first time such huge development work is being carried out in the railway sector since independence,” he said.