Vande Bharat to pay for itself in a year: Railway Board member Rajesh Agrawal
The railways has spent about Rs 100 crore for the train that currently does the round trip between Delhi and Varanasi for five days a week.
Addressing industry leaders at a meet organised by CII, Railway Board member Rajesh Agrawal said, "We are confident that the amount spent in manufacturing the first Vande Bharat Express will be recovered in 12 months or so considering the revenue its generating from sale of tickets. It's running with full occupancy." The railways has spent about Rs 100 crore for the train that currently does the round trip between Delhi and Varanasi for five days a week.
Besides high occupancy, absence of any concession for any class of passengers is not allowed in the train , and fares which are slightly higher than that is charged for other trains, are other factors which have contributed to handsome returns.
Agrawal said there is a high possibility that the semi-high speed train has brought new passengers to travel by trains. "A section of people who used to avoid taking trains are using Vande Bharat Express for commuting," he added. He said the train is running slower than its capability to run at 160 kmph because of tracks and other constraints.
Sources said the second rake of the train manufactured at Integrated Coach Factory at Chennai has been delivered and this will also be put on this route. This will give an option for railways to extend the services to seven days a week.
TOI has learnt that though ICF has awarded the contract to manufacture the third rake, the work is yet to start. Sources said a crucial component supplier is yet to deliver the material to build the train set. They added that the vigilance team of Railway Board had initiated an inquiry into some earlier contracts and it's likely to impact the early roll out of the third rake. It may be ready for operation only after mid 2020.