The Vande Bharat Express was being brought back to New Delhi from Varanasi for its first commercial run on Sunday when the breaks jammed in one of the last coaches. There is uncertainty over Sunday’s first commercial run.
A day after it was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Train 18 broke down early on Saturday, leaving it stranded around 200 kilometres outside Delhi.
Much before the train came to a dead halt, the last coaches of the Train 18 started making a rattling sound. Suspicious loco pilots decreased the speed for some time.
Smoke was noticed and a foul smell was felt in the last four coaches. Power went out in all the coaches and the engineers restarted the train at 10 kmph.
Until then the train was scheduled to reach Delhi in around 2.5 hours, according to the onboard information display. Engineers kept looking underneath the coaches with torchlights and other equipment.
They were describing jamming of the parking brake as well as the holding brake. Moreover, there was “charging failure”, they said.
Engineers finally released the jammed breaks and decided to run the train at 10 kmph. Running it with four coaches of dead load, a lot of rattling sound kept coming.
The problem resurfaced. They once again consulted senior officials and after that decided to try and run it at 40 kmph.When that did not work, officials decided to bring it to a complete halt near Chamraula.
This was not a commercial run. The train was being moved to Delhi for the first commercial run on Sunday. It is already overbooked beyond capacity. They are likely to get the Train 18 to the nearest maintenance shed, if not New Delhi.
Due to the breakdown, there is uncertainty over Sunday’s first commercial run.
Train 18 was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. After the terror attack in Pulwama, the government decided to keep it a simple affair, without any celebrations.
The new train was left bereft of flowers or any other decoration. All celebratory elements were dispensed with at functions planned at stations on the way.
“The flagging-off is a message that terrorism cannot stop India’s development,” Railway Board chairman V K Yadav told The Indian Express.
As the train rolled out, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said that by flagging off the train, the country’s fastest, India is sending out a message that that “India’s people and its armed forces do not cow down before terror”.