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WB’s first Vande Bharat Express to cut travel time between Howrah, NJP by 3 hours; PM to flag off train on Dec 30

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New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI): The new Vande Bharat Express from Howrah to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, to be flagged off by PM  Narendra Modi on Friday, will save three hours of travel time compared to other trains on the route, officials said on Wednesday.

Currently, there are 14 trains that cover the 564-km distance at an average travel time of around 10:45 hours.

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The new train will cover the distance in 7:45 hours, the officials said, considerably bringing down the run time between Kolkata and Siliguri, the gateway to the northeast.

The train will have three stoppages — Barsoi, Malda and Bolpur. The blue-and-white train has already arrived at Eastern Railway’s Liluah loco shed.

The semi-high speed train with modern passenger amenities is likely to attract tourists travelling to the hills of north Bengal and the Dooars as well as Sikkim.

The train will be particularly advantageous for those who do not wish to spend a night at Siliguri before travelling on to their destinations.

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The state-of-the-art train will have 16 coaches, including two for drivers. There will  also be two executive coaches while the rest will be normal chair cars. Each chair car will have 78 seats in two rows with the specially designed tables being a major attraction.

Officials said the train would depart from Howrah station at 6 am and reach New Jalpaiguri at 1.30 pm.

After a one-hour stopover, the Vande Bharat Express will leave New Jalpaiguri around 2.30 pm and reach Kolkata at 10 pm.

The train will run six days a week under the provisional timetable of Eastern Railway.

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This will be the seventh Vande Bharat Express and the first from the eastern region. Such trains are already catering to Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and New Delhi.

Over the next three years, the Railways plan to run as many as 400 such trains across the country.

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