Just a day after it was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the controls of the Vande Bharat Express failed, leaving India's fastest train stranded 15 kilometres from Tundla junction in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. While the Indian Railways has said that the stop was caused by cattle on the tracks, reports pointed to a technical failure.
The engine-less train, also called Train 18, was on its way to New Delhi from Varanasi after its inaugural run, when it broke down about 150 kilometres from the capital, reported NDTV.
The breaks of the train jammed in one of the last coaches. Voltage fluctuations caused electricity connections to snap in four coaches as well, reported The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, ANI tweeted a statement from the Railway ministry which noted that while the train has been stuck near Tundla since 6.30 am, the disruption was "due to a possible cattle run over". "It wasn't a scheduled commercial run. Commercial operations begin from 17 February. After removing the obstacle, the journey to Delhi was resumed at around 8.15 am," the tweet said.
The Railways' statement clashes with media reports that claimed that while engineers onboard have called up senior officials to assess the damage, the snag is reportedly "unfixable" for now. Passengers, including railway officials and journalists, had been shifted to two different trains, NDTV had noted.
News18 reported that the engineers on board suggested that the Train 18 might be transported to the nearest maintenance shed, if not New Delhi.
The train had hit 180 kilometres per hour during trials, and was able to attain a maximum speed of 130 kilometres per hour during its inaugural run between Delhi and Varanasi. "The maximum speed on this route would be 130 kilometres per hour and the average speed would around 95 kilometres per hour," said Girish Pillai, Railway Board member in charge of traffic.
Its acceleration and deceleration are different compared to other trains, he said.
The Vande Bharat Express will operate on five days in a week, except on Monday and Thursday. The 16-coach train was originally planned to eventually replace the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2019 09:53:16 IST