Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, September 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off nine Vande Bharat Express trains, including Puri–Rourkela Vande Bharat Express through video conferencing from New Delhi.
This was Odisha’s second Vande Bharat Express as the first semi-high-speed train service from Puri to Howrah was inaugurated in May by the Prime Minster through VC.
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Jaynarayan Mishra, Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Ananta Narayan Jena and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray, graced the occasion at the Bhubaneswar railway station.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was also present at the programme virtually.
Gracing the occasion, Union Minister Pradhan said, “Today is a historic and proud day for Odisha and also for the country as nine Vande Bharat Express trains have simultaneously been flagged off. Further, 57 railway stations in Odisha are being redeveloped with an estimated cost of Rs 1,400 crore.
Pradhan also requested the PM and Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to start such train services from Puri to Raipur.
The semi-high-speed express train will connect Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, with the Steel City Rourkela.
The train will also connect Bhubaneswar with industrial areas at Angul and Jharsuguda, and will run six days a week except Saturday.
The new Vande Bharat Express will cover a distance of 505 km in 7.45 hours from Puri to Rourkela.
The express train will depart Puri at 5 AM and will reach Rourkela at 12.45 PM on the same day.
On its return journey, it will leave Rourkela station at 2.10 PM and reach Puri at 9.40 PM.
The train will have stoppages at Khurda Road, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Talcher Road, Angul, Rairakhol, Sambalpur City and Jharsuguda.
The new Vande Bharat train will reduce the average travel time between Puri and Rourkela as compared to Puri-Yog Nagari Rishikesh Express which takes 11.50 hours, and Puri-Hatia Tapaswini Express, which takes 10.25 hours.