Indian Railways resumed operating Vande Bharat Express as it started operations of 80 (40 pairs) additional trains from September 12. The list of the 80 trains unveiled earlier includes India’s first semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express train as well.  

Currently, only New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express train has been operationalized which will run for five days in a week barring Mondays and Thursdays. The first day after the resumption of the train remained tepid with just 2% passenger bookings. The train numbered 02435 which will leave Varanasi at 3 pm for New Delhi and 02436 will leave New Delhi at 6 am for Varanasi.

Indian Railways suspended the operations of Vande Bharat Express on 23 March after a nationwide lockdown was imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The second Vande Bharat Express train which operates between New Delhi and Katra however remains suspended.

The service was resumed after a hiatus of 170 days when services were shut owing to nationwide lockdown. The operations of Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 were stopped on March 23 after the lockdown PM Narendra Modi imposed the nationwide lockdown.

Indian Railways last week announced that it will be operating 40 pairs of new passenger trains in addition to that of the 230 trains that had resumed earlier. The booking for these 80 trains started on September 10 and started running from September 12 onwards. Note that these special trains will be fully reserved trains.

“Ministry of Railways (MOR) in consultation with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has decided to run 40 pairs (80trains) of more special trains from September 12. These 40 pairs of special trains shall be operated as per the details mentioned given by the Indian Railways. These trains will be in addition to the existing 30 special Rajdhani type trains started May 12 and 200 Special Mail Express trains introduced June 1 (total 230 trains),” the Railway Ministry earlier said in a statement.

“It may be noted that presently Indian Railways is running 30 special Rajdhani type trains started w.e.f. 12.05.2020 and 200 Special Mail Express trains introduced w.e.f. 01.06.2020 (total 230 trains),” it added.

The timing of these trains will be as per regular trains. Stoppages will be restricted and will be taken into consideration after discussion with respective state governments. Some of the new trains include those on the Delhi-Indore, Yesvantpur-Gorakhpur, Puri-Ahmedabad, New Delhi-Bengaluru routes.

Mean-while, India on Sunday reported more than 90, 000 COVID-19 cases on Sunday. This is the fourth consecutive day when India reported more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19 on a daily basis. With the single-day spike of 94,372 new COVID-19 positive cases, India has reported a total of 47,54,357 cases, said the Union Health Ministry in a bulletin. With this latest spike, the count of COVID-19 cases stands at 47,54,357 of which, there are a total of 9,73,175 active cases while 37,02,596 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated, the Union health ministry said. The death toll due to coronavirus in the country rose to 78,586 after 1,114 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in the last 24 hours.