Odisha’s first Vande Bharat Express between Puri and Howrah will be flagged off today. Passing through several districts in Odisha and West Bengal, the Vande Bharat Express train, having about 16 coaches, will provide a faster and more convenient travel experience to rail users while boosting tourism and promoting economic development in the region.
The train running between Puri and Howrah will cover a distance of 500 km in approximately six and a half hours. The Howrah-Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat Express will commence its regular run from May 20, operating six days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to the operator, IRCTC.
The train will halt at seven stations, including Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore districts in Odisha and Paschim Medinipur, Purba Medinipur districts in West Bengal.
The Vande Bharat trains in India were initiated with an aim to significantly enhance the connectivity between the major tourist attractions and also contribute to the socio-economic development of the area.Due to the overwhelming popularity of these semi-high-speed trains, the Indian government, with the Ministry of Railways, is consistently planning to expand its operations on multiple routes across the country. All 13 operational Vande Bharat trains have maintained full occupancy since the first one was launched in February 2019. The most recent addition to the portfolio was the Secunderabad and Tirupati train, flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Apart from launching the Puri-Howrah train today, Modi will also inaugurate several other railways projects in the state, including the redevelopment of Puri and Cuttack railway stations that will offer all modern amenities to the rail passengers. The projects have an estimated cost of over INR 8000 crore. He will also dedicate 100 per cent electrification of the rail network in Odisha, which will reduce the operating and maintenance cost and reliance on imported crude oil.
To cater to increased passenger traffic demands, several railway projects will also be launched today, such as the doubling of the Sambalpur-Titlagarh rail line, a new broad gauge rail line between Angul-Sukinda, the third line connecting Manoharpur-Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Jamga, and a new broad-gauge line between Bichhupali-Jhartarbha.