After the much-hyped flagging off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the high-speed Vande Bharat Express to Varanasi, the train suffered a break down on Saturday early morning at Chamraula, 194 km from New Delhi on its empty return journey to Delhi, getting stuck for more than three hours.
Railways later blamed it on a “communcation failure” and “skidding wheels”, apparently due to a cattle runover on the tracks.
The Northern Railway, however, said the train would begin its commercial run from New Delhi on Sunday as scheduled. Considering the pre-inaugural publicity it had got from the time the rake rolled out of Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, the train has been overbooked for the inaugural journey as well as subsequent days.
The train came to a halt at Chamraula, just before dawn, 18 km ahead of Tundla station, after its wheels started skidding reportedly after it ran over some livestock.
The train came to a halt around 5.30 a.m. near Chamraula station, according to railway officials. After some checking, the train started its onward journey but slowly and haltingly before it came to a stop. A couple of hours later, it left for Delhi after 8.30 a.m.
Officials said the braking system could not cope with the speed of the train and so the on-board mechanical engineers decided to put a halt to the train and engaged in a complete check.
Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar told IANS, “There was some communication and electrical failure due to which the brakes of the train got jammed.”
He said that the wheels of the affected coaches started skidding. However, the train later resumed its journey after the on-board engineers fixed the problem, Kumar said.
The Vande Bharat Express, which is scheduled to start its commercial run from Sunday, arrived in New Delhi around 1 p.m. on Saturday, seven hours behind schedule. The new train had started its return journey from Varanasi on Saturday night at 10.30 p.m., 45 minutes after it had reached the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister on its inaugural run.
Railways spokesperson Smita Vats Sharma said that this was not a scheduled commercial run. “Commercial operation of Vande Bharat Express starts from February 17,” she said.
“The train resumed its onward journey for Delhi at around 8.15 a.m from Chamraula,” she said
On Saturday, the train was flagged off by Modi from New Delhi Railway Station at 11.20 a.m.
The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each and chair car coaches with 78 seats each.