Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off two new Vande Bharat Express trains linking Mumbai with Solapur and Sainagar Shirdi, amid cheers and clapping from the passengers and the audiences, here on Friday afternoon.
Landing here this afternoon at the INS Shikra, the Prime Minister drove to the World Heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and showed the green flag to the two swank new trains.
Later, PM Modi e-inaugurated the Vakola-Kurla and MTNL-Lal Bahadur Shastri elevated corridor arms of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, a critical east-west connector.
He also pressed the button to open a new vehicular underpass in Kurar village in north-Mumbai's Malad suburb connecting the Western Express Highway to ease traffic congestion in that area besides linking Kurar with Malad station.
The two Vande Bharat Express trains -- the 9th and 10th in the series -- will connect major pilgrimage centres in Maharashtra and give a fillip to the religious tourism circuit, officials explained.
The Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat train will transport pilgrims to the famed temples and religious sites of Siddheshwar, Akkalkot, Tuljapur, Pandharpur and even Alandi in the vicinity.
Similarly, the Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat train will serve devotees going to Trimbakeshwar, Shirdi's Saibaba Temple, Shani Singanapur, and other important locations in that region, besides the Kumbh Mela held in Nashik every 12 years, the next due in 2027.
Earlier, the PM was accorded a warm welcome by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, other ministers and senior officials.
This is PM Modi's second visit to Mumbai in three weeks, the previous one being on January 19, when he inaugurated or dedicated or laid foundation stones of infrastructure projects worth over Rs 38,000 crore, besides flagging off the Mumbai Metro Line 2 and Line 7.
The PM's two visits at a short interval are viewed as setting the stage for the upcoming BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections that are likely to be announced soon.