Indian Railway rolls out mini Vande Bharat in this route: How's the train different?

The mini Vande Bharat trains aim to connect eastern states with those on the northern side. Photo: iStock/SudeepBiswas

Bringing cheer to those planning to travel between Varanasi and Howrah, the railways have rolled out a mini Vande Bharat train service between the two cities in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The train, which touches speeds of 130 to 160km/h, takes only six hours to reach Kolkata from Varanasi, also known as Kashi. The new Vande Bharat service is the fifth such train originating from Varanasi. Two Vande Bharat trains connect Varanasi with New Delhi and one each with Patna in Bihar and Ranchi in Jharkhand. The mini Vande Bharat train starts its journey from the Varanasi Junction Railway Station to Howrah. The eight-coach train with chair cars and sleeper coaches is bound to provide a new travelling experience to the passengers.

The mini Vande Bharat trains aim to connect eastern states with those on the northern side. The new train will provide a time-effective and efficient mode of transportation for passengers travelling between Varanasi and Howrah. It is expected that the mini Vande Bharat trains with state-of-the-art design, high speed and different types of coaches and options will make them the passengers’ favourite choice of travel. Presently, the Vande Bharat trains from Varanasi to New Delhi, Patna and Ranchi have great patronage. The arrival of the mini Vande Bharat train to Varanasi will help to catapult the pilgrimage city into a major railway hub in India. It’s expected that the Indian Railways will operate more Vande Bharat train services in the future. The new rail routes, besides improving connectivity among various places, will also augur well for the economy as a whole.

The Railway Board got an application to allot a mini Vande Bharat train to Varanasi in 2023. The Railway Ministry gave the green signal for the train service on the route after conducting a feasibility study. It’s expected that a full-fledged Vande Bharat train will connect Varanasi with Howrah soon.
What’s mini Vande Bharat?
The first mini Vande Bharat train service was launched on the Bengaluru-Dehradun route in June 2023. The mini Vande Bharat trainsets are built at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. When compared to Vande Bharat trains, the mini version has a lesser number of coaches. While the Vande Bharat trains boast 16 coaches, the mini trains have only eight coaches. The mini Vande Bharat trains have air-conditioned coaches, automatic doors, CCTV cameras, passenger information and public address system and other security features. Plans are on the anvil to start 64 mini Vande Bharat train services to improve rail connectivity among small cities and towns.

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