Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that the Vande Bharat Express will start operations during Navratras. This train will facilitate pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra near Jammu. It is an engine-less semi-highspeed train that indicates the start of a new age of comfortable travel in the Indian Railways.
Almost 86 lakh pilgrims visited Vaishno Devi in Katra last year, and this year, almost 60 lakhs have already been to the shrine. Many of them use the train route till Jammu or Katra, and the Vande Bharat train will cut the travel time from Delhi to Katra to eight hours. This is almost four hours faster than the existing fastest train connection and is expected to boost the number of pilgrims further.
“It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in July 2014 dedicated a new railway track to Katra, the town from where people commence their pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi shrine. Till then, Katra was connected to Jammu and Udhampur only by road. Since then, a new direct train from Delhi to Katra, the Shri Shakti Express was also flagged off by the Modi government, and now the new Vande Bharat train,” Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said.
A railway official said traffic assessment on the Delhi-Katra route justified the Vande Bharat express as other trains on the route were very often full and had waiting lists.