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Vande Bharat Express breaks down day after launch, shadow over tomorrow's commercial run


New Delhi, Feb 16: India's first engineless train, Vande Bharat Express broke down on Saturday morning, a day after it was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Train 18

The incident occurred around 15 kilometres from Tundla junction in Uttar Pradesh. The train was coming back from Varanasi to get ready for it's first commercial run on February 17.

According to media reports, the engine of the train failed, brakes jammed in one of the last coaches and there is no electricity in four coaches.

"It was a case of skidding wheels after the train ran over a cattle. Engineers are looking into it," Northern Railway CPRO Deepak Kumar said. According to sources, including several journalists on board the train, it was stuck near Tundla for over an hour.

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After removing the obstacles, the train resumed its journey to Delhi at around 8:15 am, officials said. The train had left Varanasi Junction at 10.30 pm for Delhi Friday, nearly 45 minutes after reaching the holy city on its inaugural journey.

"This disruption appears to be because of a possible cattle run over. The train was returning at night and cattle run over is a possibility at odd times," Railway Spokesperson Smita Vats Sharma said, adding this was not a commercial run, which is scheduled to start from Sunday.

The Vande Bharat Express's first planned commercial run may be threatened after the train broke down just a day following its launch.

The train, formerly known as Train 18, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"I am grateful to designers and engineers behind Vande Bharat Express which will take its first trip from Delhi to Varanasi today. With our sincerity and hardwork in the last 4.5 years we have tried to improve railways," the PM said.

The train will travel from Delhi to Varanasi in 9 hours and 45 minutes. This includes stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Allahabad where there will be special programmes. The PM inspected the train and said he was proud that such a train had been produced indigenously at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai in 18 months.

The semi high-speed Train 18, which has been recently rechristened Vande Bharat Express, can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph and has travel classes like Shatabdi trains but with better facilities.

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