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29/05/23 | 4:55 pm

Northeast’s first Vande Bharat Train connecting Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri

Advancing ahead on the path of making Northeast India the country's growth engine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off Assam’s first Vande Bharat Express on May 29.

Addressing the event, PM Modi said, “The Vande Bharat Express will boost business and tourism by connecting key destinations such as Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga Sanctuary, Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam, Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.”

This newly launched Vande Bharat Express will connect Guwahati with New Jalpaiguri, and the journey will take 5 hours, 30 minutes, as compared to the current fastest train on the same route, which takes about 6 hours, 30 minutes. It will operate six days a week and will be the third Vande Bharat in West Bengal after the New Jalpaiguri (NJP)-Howrah and Howrah-Puri trains.

Apart from the Vande Bharat Express launch, PM Modi also dedicated a 182 km route of the newly electrified section, which will help provide pollution-free transportation with trains running at higher speeds and reduced running times. He also inaugurated a newly constructed Diesel Electric Multiple Unit and Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU/MEMU) shed at Lumding in Assam. According to the government release, this shed will provide state-of-the-art maintenance facilities for DEMU rakes operating in the region, leading to better operational feasibility.

During his address, PM Modi noted that the rail connectivity in the northeast is proof of the government’s speed, scale, and intention. Throwing light on the nine years of the NDA government in power, the Prime Minister informed that before 2014, the average railway budget for the Northeast was about 2500 crore rupees, which has grown to more than 10 thousand crores this year. He further added that the capitals of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Sikkim are being connected to the rest of the country. “All parts of the Northeast will soon be connected via the broad-gauge network. “One lakh crore rupees are being spent on these projects,” the PM said. 

Meanwhile, during a press briefing on the sidelines of the Vande Bharat flag-off event in Guwahati, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that in the last nine years, the government has constructed 1,618 kilometres of the railway network in Northeast India, despite the region’s complex geography. According to the Minister, 59 railway stations in the northeast are being constructed to reach world-class standards.

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