Vande Bharat train
Visuals of the Northeast’s first Vande Bharat Express from Guwahati in Assam to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Photo credit: Twitter

PM Modi virtually flags off Northeast’s first Vande Bharat Express

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off Northeast’s first Vande Bharat Express from Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Monday.

The prime minister symbolically waved a green flag on screen to launch the train from Guwahati station where Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were present.

The Vande Bharat Express will boost tourism, education, trade and employment opportunities in the North East, the prime minister said on the occasion. The semi-high-speed train between Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri will further strengthen connectivity between Assam and West Bengal.

Also read: Vande Bharat Express train trial underway on Mumbai-Goa route

During the last nine years, the North East has witnessed infrastructure development with all states connected with the railway network, Modi said. “Infrastructure is for all without any discrimination, reflecting true social justice and secularism,” the prime minister said. Taking a jibe at the previous governments in Assam, the Prime Minister said the state was “devoid of development” for a long time before the BJP came to power in the state in 2016.

The train will connect Guwahati with New Jalpaiguri and is expected to save about an hour of journey time when compared with the current fastest train connecting the two places. It will cover the 410-kilometre-long journey in five-and-a-half hours.

The train will depart from New Jalpaiguri at 6:10 am and reach Guwahati at mid-day. From Guwahati, the Vande Bharat Express will depart at 4.30 pm and reach New Jalpaiguri around 10:20 pm. It will run six days a week and stop at six stations — New Alipurduar, Kokrajhar, New Bongaigaon and Kamakhya, including New Jalpaiguri and Guwahati junctions.

Also read: West Bengal to get second Vande Bharat express on Howrah-Puri route

The state-of-the-art train will provide the people of the region the means to travel with speed and comfort besides boosting tourism in the region. The prime minister also dedicated a 182-km route of newly electrified sections to the nation and inaugurated a DEMU/MEMU shed at Lumding in Assam.

The Indian Railways is currently running 34 services of the Vande Bharat train, covering 21 states. It has set a target of running at least one service in seven more states by June.

(With agency inputs)

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