Palakkad: The second Vande Bharat Express allotted to Kerala will operate between Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram, sources from the Railways said on Tuesday.
"There's unconfirmed news from the higher-ups that the second Vande Bharat will operate from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram Central under the Palakkad Railway Division. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the service online on September 24," said a top official with Palakkad Railway Division.
The service will be operated via Alappuzha, the officer added.
Higher officials from Southern Railway visited Kasaragod and Mangalore Central the other day to inspect the arrangements for the service.
"Though the service will be operated from Kasaragod initially, it will definitely be extended to Mangalore Central in the near future. The facilities for maintenance and cleaning of Vande Bharat rakes are in place at Mangalore Central. It is understood that the rakes will be plied empty from Kasaragod to Mangalore Central for maintenance and cleaning for the time being," said the source.
Currently, the rake allotted to the Palakkad division is stationed at the Chennai Basin Bridge Yard and is awaiting the Railway Board’s direction to be deployed to the Southern Railway and then to the Palakkad division.
The first Vande Bharat Express commenced on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod stretch on April 25. According to the Indian Railways, the Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram Express is also the best-performing Vande Bharat Express in the country with an average occupancy of 183 per cent, followed by its Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod service with an average occupancy of 176 per cent.