Palakkad: Kerala’s second Vande Bharat will be flagged off at 12.30 pm on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An official communication from the Office of General Manager, Southern Railways regarding the same has been sent to the offices of division railway managers of Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad just a while ago.
As per the communication, the flagging off will be performed by the Prime Minister through a video conference. The second Vande Bharat will begin its inaugural run from Kasaragod railway station soon after the flag-off. The inaugural service will have stoppages and reception at Payyannur, Kannur, Thalassery, Kozhikode, Tirur, Shoranur Junction, Thrissur, Ernakulam Junction, Alappuzha, Kayamkulam Junction and Kollam before reaching its destination point Thiruvananthapuram.
“Direction has come from the Southern Railway General Manager's Office to prepare a list of invitees, design the invitation cards, banners, advertisements, print the souvenir tickets and distribute the tickets as per the prepared list,” said a top official from Thiruvananthapuram railway division.
It has also been directed to invite regular railway passengers, railway employees and their children to the inaugural journey and provide them with snacks. “We have also been directed to organise drawing, essay writing and poem recitation competitions for school students and then select from among them for travelling onboard the Vande Bharat Express. Elaborate arrangements will be in place to celebrate the flagging off of the second Vande Bharat of the state. It is reliably understood that a total number of nine Vande Bharat Express trains will be flagged off by the Prime Minister at Sunday's function,” said another officer.
Currently, 25 pairs of Vande Bharat trains are being operated across Indian Railways and with Sunday's function, the number will rise to 34.
For Kerala, the second Vande Bharat will be an eight-coach train, under the Palakkad railway division. Authorities said the timetable for the service has yet not been officially announced. “Tentatively, Express will leave from Kasaragod at 7 am and reach Thiruvananthapuram Central at 3.05 pm. The train will begin its return journey at 4.05 pm to reach Kasaragod at 11.55 pm,” the officer said, adding that there are also chances of Southern Railway authorities making slight changes in the timings.
The services will be operated six days a week and a day will be marked for maintenance and inspection, according to official sources. The Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram service will be excluded on Monday. Similarly, the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod service will not be operated on Tuesday so as to carry out the maintenance and inspection works.
Trial run starts in Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod stretch
Meanwhile, the first trial run of the train started from Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station today at 4.05 pm to Kasaragod.
The train was brought from Chennai to Kochuveli railway station on Thursday night and was stationed there.
"For the trial run, the rake was first brought to Thiruvananthapuram Central from Kochuveli. The train will reach Kasaragod at 11.55 pm as per the currently announced timetable. It will have another set of trial runs tomorrow from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram Central and back to Kasaragod," said a top official from Thiruvananthapuram railway division.