Vande Bharat brings Chennai closer to Tirupati

The high-speed train covers the distance of 136.6 km between Chennai and Renigunta, a station 9km away from Tirupati, in just one hour and 35 minutes.
The Vande Bharat Express flagged off from Vijayawada station on Sunday | Express
The Vande Bharat Express flagged off from Vijayawada station on Sunday | Express

CHENNAI: With the new Vande Bharat Express connecting Chennai and Vijayawada, travellers from Chennai can now reach Tirupati, a major pilgrimage site in Andhra Pradesh, in 95 minutes. 

The high-speed train covers the distance of 136.6 km between Chennai and Renigunta, a station 9km away from Tirupati, in just one hour and 35 minutes. In contrast, the existing Sapthagiri and Garudadri daily express trains in this section take two hours and 40 minutes to travel from Chennai to Renigunta. The journey by road on private or government buses takes an average of three hours and 30 minutes.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the inaugural special Vande Bharat services between Tirunelveli and Chennai Egmore, as well as Vijayawada and Chennai Central from New Delhi. The trains received a warm reception at enroute stations from rail passengers. Regular services of both Vande Bharat expresses will commence from Monday, said Southern railway. 

The Vande Bharat Express from Chennai to Vijayawada will take a circuitous route (514 km) passing through Renigunta and Nellore to improve the connectivity between Chennai and Tirupati. The train will cover the end-to-end journey in six hours and 40 minutes.

The existing 432 km chordline route to Vijayawada via Gudur and Ongole takes seven hours on the daily Jan Shatabdi Express and six hours and 40 minutes on the Chennai - Shalimar Coromandel Express.
The Vande Bharat Express will operate six days a week, excluding Tuesdays. The train will depart from Chennai at 5.30 am and arrive in Vijayawada at 12.10 pm, with stops at Renigunta (7.10 am), Nellore (8.40 am), Ongole (10.10 am), and Tenali (11.22 am). 

‘Main aim of train is to provide faster connectivity to Tirupati from Chennai’

Similarly, on the return journey, the train will leave Vijayawada at 3.20 pm and reach Chennai at 10 pm. The train will stop at Tenali at 3.49 pm, Ongole at 5.03 pm, Nellore at 6.18 pm, and Renigunta at 8.05 pm. A section of rail passengers said the train should have been given a stoppage at Arakkonam to provide benefits of the new train to passengers in other parts of Tamil Nadu.

“The main aim of the train is to provide faster connectivity to Tirupati from Chennai and Vijayawada. While the train was given stoppage at three places in Andhra Pradesh, a stoppage at Arakkonam should have been included for the benefit of passengers from Tamil Nadu,” said rail enthusiast S Ramarajan.

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