As of today, there are a total of 15 Vande Bharat Express trains, semi-high speed trains, operating in India. The next on the list will be on the Howrah to Puri route. The trial run for this route and other matters such as the timetable etc, are underway. The route is expected to be on anytime this month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be flagging it off.
There are more than 100 Howrah to Puri trains available, with several express trains that have faster travel duration. But the Vande Bharat Express will be at least an hour faster than the next fastest train operating in the direct route. This new Vande Bharat Express route will be the second one for West Bengal and the first one for Odisha.
New Vande Bharat Express Route: Howrah to Puri
The Vande Bharat (VB) Express route has a total distance of 500 km. During the trial run, the VB Express covered it in just 6 hours and 25 mins. The schedule and the stops are yet to be finalised but Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar are some of the confirmed stops.
The trial run was conducted on 28th April from Howrah station at 6.10 am and reached Puri railway Station at 12.35 pm. The return journey started from Puri at 1.50 pm and reached Howrah at 8.30 pm. The maximum speed achieved during the trial run was 130 Km/h and had an average speed of 77 Km/h.
Currently, the fastest train on this route is the Puri Shatabdi Express which takes 7 hours 35 mins to reach the destination. Not only does the VB Express have speed but can be more comfortable and efficient.
The train is expected to be available for 3-6 days a week, specifically on Monday, Friday, and Saturday. The ticket price for this route can be anywhere between INR 1300 to INR 1500 for the AC chair car and INR 2100 to INR 2300 for the executive coach. The ticket rate is yet to be finalised.
About the Coaches
The VB Express from Howrah to Puri will have a total of 16 air-conditioned coaches with the most comfortable seats. Among these, two are executive coaches and the remaining 14 are chair cars. Coach numbers 8 and 9 will be executive coaches, coming right in the middle.
Vande Bharat Express itself is a luxurious train that offers more luxuries in the executive coaches. You will have premium seats with more leg space and the option to turn the seats 180 degrees to face the windows and enjoy the scenery on the route. This facility is exclusive to this coach.
The other chair car will also have spacious seats with ample legroom. There will be power plugs and USB ports for each seat on all the coaches. A food tray is available for each seat which will be folded into the handrest.
The route and upcoming stations will be displayed on the LED television and the stations will also be announced. There are restrooms provided in every coach which will be similar to that in flights.
Passengers can comfortably walk through the train and from one coach to the next without having to worry about falling through. This has been a major issue with all other trains in India, the visible gap between the coaches. VB Express takes care of this and has provided a covered transition area.
Another feature of VB Express is the speaker button that allows you to talk to the locomotive driver. This can be used in emergencies or in other dire situations. One of the highlights of VB trains is that the doors of all coaches are completely under the control of the driver. No passenger will be able to open the doors, which ensures high safety standards.
Places to Visit in Puri
You can visit several places in Puri by taking the Howrah to Puri VB Express trains. Three main attractions near Puri are,
- Konark Sun Temple Heritage Site consists of some of the marvellous temple architecture of ancient India. The temple with intricate designs was done in Kalinga architecture made in the 13th century. It is 35 km from Puri which takes about an hour by a cab.
- Chilika Lake is the largest lagoon in India. It is 75 km from Puri and will take 1.5 hrs to reach. From Bhubaneshwar, the distance is just 61 km and you can reach it quicker. The Vande Bharat Express has a stop at both these stations.
- Jagannath Temple is just 3 km away from the Puri railway station. You can easily find accommodation nearby and visit the temple any time between 6 am and 9 pm.
How to Book a Ticket in Vande Bharat Express Online?
The online ticket booking for Vnde Bharat Express is similar to that of any train, ie, via the IRCTC web portal or mobile app. Alternatively, you can make use of the redRail train ticket booking platform for faster ticket booking. Once you have logged in, search for the route and then select Vande Bharat Express to book the tickets.
Usually, it will be difficult to find train tickets, especially during holidays and festive seasons. Using redRail will improve your chances of getting a ticket. Use the redBus mobile app and choose redRail to book train tickets.
West Bengal already has one Vande Bharat train on the Howrah to New Jalpaiguri route and there are three more, including the Howrah to Puri route, on the cards. For Odisha, this is the first and only one for now. The train number for the Vande Bharat Howrah to Puri trains are not decided yet, which will be known once the other details are mapped out. One thing is sure, this train route is also set to be as successful as the other Vande Bharat Express train routes operating.