Mrunal Manmay Dash

As Odisha awaits Prime Minister Narendra Modi to flag off the brand new Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat Express on May 18, the chief designer behind the state-of-the-art locomotive, Sudhanshu Mani is confident that the people of Odisha will like the train.

Mani, a retired mechanical engineer with 38 years of experience, is the mind behind India's first modern semi-high-speed train, popularly known as the 'Vande Bharat Express'.

In an exclusive interview with OTV, Mani said, “I am sure the people of Odisha will like the train. There is something about this train that the PM inaugurates almost every one of them starting its operations in India.”

“This is a symbol of a resurgent and aspirational India. The people of Odisha are known to aspire for the very best. That is why they will like it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Puri Station is getting a makeover and has been decked up for the train's inauguration, which will be attended by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Jal Shakti Minister, Bisweshwar Tudu.

A tourist, Neetu Kapoor said, “This train is going to help a lot of travellers and tourists like me. It is going to reduce the time between Puri and Howrah a lot, benefitting all.”

Made in the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, this train will have 16 coaches and can run as fast as 180 kmph. The coaches are fitted with automated closing doors which that cannot be opened when the train is in motion. For emergency and safety of the passengers, the coaches are fitted with four emergency windows and four CCTV cameras.

The train features a GPS-based passenger information system, bio-vacuum toilets, and rotational seats that can be aligned in the direction of travel in the executive class, and employs a regenerative braking system.

“I am very happy that Vande Bharat Express is going to ply between Puri and Howrah. Apart from its speed, the train has sophisticated coaches which will provide ultimate comfort for the passengers,” said locomotive expert, Dilip Samantray.

The first trial run of the Howrah-Puri Vande Bharat Express was conducted on April 28. As per the East-Coast Railway, the train will depart from Howrah at 6:10 am and reach Puri at 12:25 pm with two-minute stoppages at Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur Road, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, and Khordha Road. The train will depart from Puri at 1:50 pm and reach Howrah at 8:30 pm.

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