Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the indigenously built Train 18 will be called Vande Bharat Express and will run between New Delhi and Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event here, Goyal said, "We wanted it (Train 18) to have a special identity that is connected to India and is venerated by 125 crore Indians. We crowdsourced the name suggestions, and I thank them all.
"We chose one name - Vande Bharat Express" he said.
He said that Train 18 was designed in India, and built by Indian engineers at the Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai in a span of 18 months.
"It shall run between New Delhi and Varanasi with stoppages at Kanpur and Allahabad (now renamed Prayagraj). It is an example that it's possible to make world class trains under the Make in India initiative," the Minister said.
He added that the railways has approached the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) seeking time for the launch of Tain 18 by the Prime Minister, which is likely in February, after the Budget.
The announcement to rename Train 18 as Vande Bharat Express came a day after IANS reported that its fares are likely to be around 40-50 per cent higher than that of the Shatabdi Express.
IANS had on Saturday reported that the executive class fare would be between Rs. 2,800 and Rs. 2,900 while that of the chair car would be between Rs. 1,600 and Rs. 1,700.
Goyal also said that it is India's first indigenous, semi-high speed train. It was given the safety certificate by the chief commissioner of railway safety on January 25.
He said even the parts of Tain 18 were manufactured in India.
"We want to export the train sets."
When asked if more such trains are being manufactured, Goyal said, "We have a sanction of 30 trains till now, I have requested the board to scale it up, which will also lead to reduction in cost," he said.
Highlighting the features of the train, Goyal said it will have 16 coaches, comprising two executive chair cars and 14 non-executive chair cars.
"Security and safety, air suspension and air conditioning have been taken care of," he said.
Train-18 has undergone extensive trials under the supervision of the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow. It has successfully completed trials of up to a speed of 180 kmph. The train is capable of touching a maximum speed of 200 kmph.
According to railway officials, Train 18, which runs on electric traction like Metro trains, will start replacing the Shatabdi Express fleet from next year.The new train has a number of features to enhance passenger comfort which include inter-connected fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting and disabled-friendly toilets.