Enthusiastic onlookers, cameras, chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ welcome Train 18 on inaugural run

ON BOARD TRAIN 18: At 11.19 am on Friday, India’s first engineless train, Vande Bharat Express rolled out from the New Delhi railway station on its inaugural journey to Varanasi, a testament to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The train, formerly known as Train 18, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The atmosphere along the route was marked by both a sense of excitement as well as a feeling of pride for the indigenously made train.

As the blue and white long nosed train began its journey with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, a media contingent comprising national and international reporters and senior railway officials on board, Modi waved goodbye. Cameras caught the moment for posterity.
Minutes later, speaking to reporters on board the train, Goyal said this state of the art train will offer a convenient experience to passengers and reduce travel time on the New Delhi-Varanasi route to eight hours compared to 13-14 hours other trains take for the trip.

“It is a manifestation of our engineering talent and is a pride of the railways and the country. It’s a matter of pride that the train set has been built by our engineers and workers. Its top speed is 180kmph,” he said.
The train’s first halt was at Kanpur Central Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh.

Along the route, in a treatment usually reserved for celebrities, people clicked photos and recorded videos as the train zoomed past them.
At the station, the train was welcomed by a huge crowd amid chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
People jostled to touch the train and its windows as it pulled into the station. Majority of them had their cameras out here as well — taking selfies with the train in background.
Some even tried entering the train but were stopped by the security personnel.

“Kya andar ja sakte hain? (can I go inside),” a woman in her 50s asked the security personnel at the gate.
“Just wanted to see how it looks and if they have made it exactly the way said it would be,” said another onlooker.
Goyal addressed the gathering before the train left the station for its onward journey.
On its halt at Allahabad also, the train was welcomed by a large number of people. Once again, security personnel had to stop curious onlookers from getting inside the train.
Here too the minister addressed the crowd. PTI

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