Palakkad: Come Sunday, the second Vande Bharat Express allotted to Kerala will start running between Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram. The overall speed of the Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram and Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod service will be 72.39 kmph and 70.90 kmph, respectively.
The total one-way distance in the route is 573 kms. While the Thiruvananthapuram-bound Vande Bharat will cover the distance in seven hours and 55 minutes, the Kasaragod-bound Express will take eight hours and five minutes to complete the journey.
The current generation Vande Bharat Express trains are built to run at a top speed of 180 kmph, but the average speed of Vande Bharat services in India is just below 85 kmph.
Palakkad railway officials said they are yet to receive an official communication, however, sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the service via Alappuzha on Sunday. “At the same time, the normal services will start on Tuesday only. The 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 back at 11.55 pm,” said the source, adding: “The timetable is tentative. It may be changed at the launch time.”
The services will be operated six days a week and a day will be marked for maintenance and inspection, according to official sources. “Tentatively, it is decided that 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,” the officer added.
The train will have stoppages at Kannur, Kozhikode, Shoranur, Thrissur, Ernakulam Junction, Alappuzha and Kollam Junction in between. The first Vande Bharat Express commenced in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod stretch on April 25 via Kottayam.
Though the service will be started 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.
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 Indian Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai authorities will conduct a trial run before handing over the rake to Southern Railways.