Vande Bharat Express | Photo: PTI
Kochi: Kerala's maiden Vande Bharat train is set to arrive in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday (April 14) for trial runs ahead of its anticipated inauguration on April 25. The train, which was manufactured at the Chennai coach factory and comprises 16 coaches, will embark on a "show run" from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode soon.
A high-level team, led by Southern Railway General Manager RN Singh, will conduct inspections during the journey, with brief stops planned at Kollam, Varkala, Chengannur, and Ernakulam railway stations. The news of Vande Bharat's arrival was received at railway offices in Kerala the previous night.
It is expected that prime minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting Kochi on April 24, will flag off the train from Thiruvananthapuram on April 25, accompanied by railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. The railway minister had previously expressed his intention to visit the state to gain a firsthand understanding of the railway development in Kerala.
Although Vande Bharat is designed to operate at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, it will not be able to achieve that speed on Kerala's tracks due to curves and lack of automated signalling. Instead, it will run at the same speed as Jan Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, with a maximum speed of around 110 km per hour in the northern districts.
The Indian Railways has been making preparations to introduce Vande Bharat in Kerala for some time. Service routes, ticket rates are not currently available.