The launch of Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express has been cancelled in the wake of the Odisha train tragedy. The flag-off ceremony was scheduled for Saturday.
At least 50 are feared dead and over 350 people injured were injured as a three-way accident involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and goods train on three separate tracks occurred at Bahanagar in Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday evening.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to flag off the Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express through video link on Saturday morning while Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was to remain present at Madgaon station for the ceremony. But Vaishnaw was now heading for the accident site in Odisha and the ceremony was cancelled, officials said.
With an average speed of 75 kmph, the Mumbai-Goa Vande Bharat will be the fastest train between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Madgaon, covering the 586 km distance in 7 hours and 50 minutes from both sides.
The train will have seven commercial stops at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Khed, Ratnagiri, Kankavli, and Thivim. It also have a technical halt at Roha, where boarding and deboarding will not be allowed.
According to the official documents, during the non-monsoon period, this eight-coach train will start at 5.25 am from CSMT and will reach Madgoan at 1.15 pm. On its way back, it will start at 2.35 pm from Madgaon and will reach CSMT at 10.25 pm.
The train will have a sectional speed of up to 120 kmph, the ministry said.
“The sectional speed on CSMT-Diva stretch will be 105 kmph and on Diva-Roha will be 110 kmph. Both these are falling under the Central Railways. On the Roha-Madgaon stretch of the Konkan Railway, the sectional speed will be 120 kmph,” the ministry added.
It will operate six days a week except Friday. While during the trial run, the train took around seven hours, the commercial run will take a little longer, a ministry official said.
“This Mumbai-Goa route has a lot of rush. So much so that even special trains have to be organised. But this fully AC train will be a great help in easing the load. Goa is a tourist spot while Mumbai is a commercial hub. The train has been a long pending demand and will help in easing the passenger load in this route,” a ministry official told News18 demanding anonymity.
(With PTI inputs)