Mumbai: The two new Vande Bharat Express trains flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday from Mumbai reached their destinations of Sainagar Shirdi and Solapur almost on schedule.
The ninth Vande Bharat Express of the country departed from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) here at 3.50 pm, and reached Solapur in southern Maharashtra at 10.35 pm, after 6.45 hours, ten minutes behind its scheduled arrival time.
The CSMT-Sainagar Shirdi train, the 10th Vande Bharat Express, left the CSMT at about 4 pm and reached Sainagar Shirdi in central Maharashtra at 9.45 pm, taking 5.45 hours.
At Shirdi station, the train was given a traditional welcome by the Nashik Baja (Nashik Band). Along the route, people lined the tracks in many places to catch a glimpse of the new trains and click pictures.
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BJP workers welcomed the trains at major stations like Dadar, Thane, Kalyan, Pune, Kasara and Nashik.
About 32,000 students from various schools in Maharashtra had participated in drawing, writing and speech competitions on the theme of Vande Bharat, and winners of these competitions travelled on the new trains.
Before the trains departed, Prime Minister Modi also interacted with them. A girl recited a Sanskrit poem, winning praise from the prime minister.
Suburban commuters and outstation train passengers at the CSMT, however, faced inconvenience due to the inaugural function. Many outstation trains were short terminated at other stations and the suburban train timetable was also disrupted.
Passengers also complained about the chaotic situation at the CSMT due to the security. The entire concourse of the CSMT was overcrowded and due to security checks of passengers heading to platform 14 to 18, the situation was chaotic in the afternoon.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation limited (IRCTC) officials said the passengers travelling by the two Vande Bharat Express trains will be served a traditional Maharashtrian fare. It would feature vegetarian items like Sabudana khichadi, Jowar Bhakri, Bhadang, Shegaon Kachori, Kothimbir vadi and Thalipith, and non-vegetarian favorites like Sauji chicken, chicken tamda-rassa and chicken Kolhapuri.