Railway Reforms

Vande Bharat: Modern trains need modern infrastructure


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Vande Bharat project

Mains level: Vande Bharat, issues with the railways infrastructure

Vande Bharat


  • When the Prime Minister inaugurated the latest edition of the Vande Bharat train recently, India made a huge leap into the future of mass transportation. The new Vande Bharat Express trains or Vande Bharat 2.0 are expected to usher in an era of faster, safer and more comfortable rail travel for passengers.

All you need to know about Vande Bharat

  • The Vande Bharat Express is a semi-high-speed, electric multiple unit train previously known as Train 18
  • It is designed, built by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) under the Make in India Initiative
  • Vande bharat running on 5 routes as of November 2022.
  • The first Vande Bharat Express train was flagged off on February 15, 2019, on the New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route.
  • All the coaches are equipped with automatic doors, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard hotspot Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes, and comfortable seats.
  • Vande bharat running on 5 routes as of November 2022.
  • Indian Railways hopes to roll out another 25 Vande Bharat train sets by the end of March 2023.
  • Railways plans to roll out 75 Vande Bharat trains by Independence Day next year

What is Vande Bharat 2.0?

  • The name may be the same, but this train, the third in the Vande Bharat series, is being dubbed ‘Vande Bharat 2.0’, because of certain upgrades it has received over its predecessors.

Vande Bharat

What are the notable upgrades and newly added features in 2.0?

  • Faster and lighter than the previous: This train reaches a top speed of 160 km per hour in 129 seconds, around 16 seconds faster than its predecessor. This is because this train weighs around 392 tonnes, 38 tonnes lighter than the last one, and needs to run almost a km less to attain its top speed.
  • Improved on Riding Index: It also has a better riding index (lower the better) of 3.26 at 180 km per hour, from the earlier 3.87. At a standard speed of 115 km per, its riding index is 3.26, better than 3.62 attained at the same speed by the earlier. In layman’s terms, Riding index is a global benchmark to calculate how comfortable and steady the passenger is while the train is in motion.
  • Fitted with automatic anti-collision system “Kavach”: In terms of safety features, the new train comes fitted with the automatic anti-collision system Kavach, which the previous trains did not have.
  • Improved on safety features: Coaches have disaster lights and their battery backup increased from the last one’s one-hour battery backup. The exterior has eight flatform-side cameras, up from four.
  • Passenger communication facility: There is a passenger-guard communication facility in coaches, which comes with automatic voice recording feature.
  • Making it flood resilient: The new trainset is higher, making it safe from floods up to 650 mm, up from 400 mm.
  • Better quality streaming of audio-visual information with improved network: A centralised coach monitoring system, another new addition, through CCTV cameras, and the internal network supports data at 1 gigabyte per second, This means better quality streaming of audio-visual information.
  • Air purification system: The internal air is filtered through photo catalytic ultra violet air purification system with UV lamp which deactivates 99 per cent of germs, the Railways claims something the earlier trainsets did not have.
  • Onboard infotainment: It also has a wifi-enabled onboard infotainment system and the LCD display in each coach is now 32 inches, up from the 24-inch screen.

Vande Bharat

Challenges to the modern railway infrastructure

  • Tracks are not in sync with the modern age trains: This new-age train slammed head-on into the “old-age” country on at least two occasions in its very first week. The train crashed into a herd of cows, damaging the aircraft-like nose of the driver coach car.
  • Poor fencing along the tracks: The railways built a new-age train but forgot to construct fencing along the tracks to prevent bovine collisions.
  • Issues with the battery charging units: Occasional Failure in the battery charging mechanism due to a fault in the charging cable as well as tripping of a circuit breaker needs to addressed.
  • Technical glitches in the alerting software system: Failure to alert the technical glitches in the functioning of the system creating problems and adding up to malfunctioning.


  • A senior railway official proudly detailed the “superior” features of the Vande Bharat train, which would provide passengers with an “aircraft-like travelling experience” albeit, even quieter than an aircraft, also testified by the Prime Minister But these superior features need superior and resilient infrastructure to achieve the target.

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