Ahmedabad: More than 370 passengers travelled on board the new upgraded Vande Bharat 2.0 train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai during its inaugural journey on Friday.
The semi-high speed train from Gandhinagar Capital railway station was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi around 10.30 am.
The train had railway enthusiasts and YouTubers among its first passengers including railway officials, security personnel and media persons. The officials confimed that over 370 persons travelled on the train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
The booking had opened a day before. The passengers were seen excited to be part of the train’s inaugural run and clicked photos as well as shot videos on mobile phones during the journey.
As the train streaked by, passengers at various stations along the route, railway employees working on the adjoining tracks and passers-by on the roads and people in the buildings along the tracks were also seen clicking pictures or shooting videos.
Vacuum toilets like those seen at airports, spacious and rotating seats in the executive chair car class, the passenger addressing system, wide windows and end-to-end gangway were some of the most appreciated features of the new train.
Jaydeep Nimawat, a real estate businessman who was travelling to Surat from Ahmedabad with his family for Navratri celebrations, was clearly impressed.
“This train is awesome compared to other trains. The seats are spacious and comfortable,” he said.
Booked ticket online
Siddharth Kinariwala, a railway enthusiast, said he booked a ticket online for a journey from Ahmedabad to Surat.
“I booked a ticket as soon as my boss approved the leave this morning. I wanted to have first-hand experience of the train,” he said.
The seats are comfortable and have good leg space, and the interiors as well as the facilities for passengers too are good, he said.
K K Thakur, co-loco pilot for the Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad journey, told PTI that it was a great honour for him and his colleague to get the opportunity to pilot the inaugural run.
They were given special training beforehand as the train’s dashboard is different from that found on ordinary trains, he said.
“When we left Gandhinagar, the atmosphere was charged. People chanted `Vande Mataram’ when the prime minister showed the green flag,” Thakur said.
Yogesh Shah, who had booked a return journey ticket too, said he was very much enjoying the ride.
“The train is feature-rich, but it also needs to be maintained well,” Shah said.
The fare was reasonable considering the facilities, he added.
The chair car coaches are a little bit congested due to the narrow gangway, a railway official observed.
An employee of the IRCTC said they faced difficulty carrying food trolleys as seat handles obstruct the movement.
“But compared to the old Vande Bharat trains running on other routes, this train has better seats as these are the reclining ones,” the employee said, adding that the interiors too are much better.
The train, which connects the capital cities of Maharashtra and Gujarat, is the third Vande Bharat Express. The first such train was started on New Delhi-Varanasi route, while the second one was started on New Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra route.