Thiruvananthapuram: Soon after the launch of the second Vande Bharat service in Kerala, a third rake of the train arrived in the state. However, the new rake which reached Kochuveli will not be utilized to conduct a third service in Kerala. Instead, it will be a standby for the second service between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod along Alappuzha during maintenance.
“The third rake will run on the Alappuzha route to avoid cancellation when maintenance has to be carried out on the regular train,” said a railway official. Incidentally, the third rake has the old colour scheme of blue and white, unlike the regular train on the Alappuzha route which has an orange-grey exterior. Even though the third rake sports the same colours as the first train, it has only eight coaches. The first service along the Kottayam route has 16 compartments.
Currently, maintenance facilities for Vande Bharat are available only at Kochuveli yard in Thiruvananthapuram. As the Vande Bharat along Kottayam ends its daily trips in Thiruvananthapuram, there is sufficient time for the train to be taken to Kochuveli for service. But the new service along Alappuzha arrives in Thiruvananthapuram by 3.05 pm and departs from there at 4.05 pm, giving no adequate time for maintenance. “A third rake has been allotted to Thiruvananthapuram division to ensure regular service,” the railway official added.
The first trip of the second Vande Bharat train in Kerala on Tuesday was also fully booked similar to the first train. All 530 seats on the train were reserved during its journey from platform 1 of the Thiruvananthapuram Central Station at 4.05 pm. The loco pilot was D R Arun Das and the assistant loco pilot was S Sunil Kumar. Arun Das said before the trip, “We expect a speed of 100 kmph till Karunagappally and 80-90 kmph from there.”
Among the passengers on the maiden trip from Thiruvananthapuram were Opposition Leader V D Satheesan. The trip from Kasaragod starts at 7 am.
The Thiruvananthapuram – Kasaragod service along Alappuzha will not run on Monday and the Kasaragod – Thiruvananthapuram service (via Alappuzha) will be unavailable on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, railway authorities indicated that the timings of the train could change from October 1 when the new timetable comes into force.