The Vande Bharat Express, India's first semi high-speed train, arrived in Varanasi on Sunday almost one and half hours behind schedule on its first commercial run due to "dense fog", officials said today. On its return journey, it was again delayed by one hour fifty minutes.
The delay comes a day after the indigenously built train broke down on its inaugural run on its return to Delhi Saturday which the railways said was due to possible cattle run-over. The train was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Attributing the delay to dense fog in the Ghaziabad-Tundla section, railway officials said the train ran at a speed of 60km per hour for the "safety of passengers".
The train reached Varanasi Cantonment station at 3.25 pm instead of its scheduled arrival at 2 pm on Sunday. It left for Delhi at 4.25 pm on its return journey.
Officials also said the engineless train ran at an average speed of 130 km per hour after the fog dissipated.
"This is normal during this time of the year. It was environmental conditions that delayed the train," said Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar.
After the train halted for over two hours on its first run, the Railways in a detailed press release said it was because of a technical issue possibly caused due to an "external hit."
"There was an issue of communication between the last basic unit of 4 coaches and the rest of the train probably due to some external hit. Thereafter, safety features in the train applied brakes. The train was checked for faults and moved to Delhi," it said.
Manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Vande Bharat Express, which was earlier called Train 18, has all safety clearances, trials and tests in place. It had covered a distance of 7,000 km in its three trial runs.
(with inputs from PTI)