The Vande Bharat Express - India's fastest train - was halted for over three hours during its return journey from Varanasi because of a technical issue possibly caused due to an "external hit", the Indian Railways said in a clarification on Saturday.
"During the transportation back from Varanasi to Delhi, the Vande Bharat Express was stopped at Chamraula station as there was an issue of communication between the last basic unit of four coaches and the rest of the train, probably due to some external hit," Railways spokesperson Smita Vats Sharma said, adding that the brakes were applied automatically.
The train was forced to a halt about 194 km from Delhi on Saturday morning, a day after it was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The train resumed its journey after repairs, reaching the national capital hours after schedule.
The spokesperson allayed concerns about the indigenously built train, saying that it was now ready for its first commercial run on Sunday. "The train has already been examined at the New Delhi maintenance depot to address the communication failure that occurred during the journey," she said, assuring that all its other systems have been checked too.
During the first leg of its trip, the train ran from New Delhi to Varanasi in just eight hours -- as compared to the 12-13 hours it takes for the Shatabdi Express to cover the same distance. Its speed was capped at 130 kmph in view of the condition of tracks, despite topping 180 kmph in trial runs. Once launched, the Vande Bharat -- earlier called Train 18 -- will run five days a week.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said he was "encouraged by the positive feedback" received by the Vande Bharat Express, and has decided to place an order for a hundred more trains of the kind.
Manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Vande Bharat Express has all safety clearances, trials and tests in place. It had covered a distance of 7,000 km in its three trial runs.
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