Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the much-awaited Vande Bharat Express (22895/22896) between Puri and Howrah, via video conferencing.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said, “People of Odisha and West Bengal are getting the gift of Vande Bharat train today. Vande Bharat Express is the symbol of modern India and aspirational Indians. When Vande Bharat travels from one place to another place, it represents the pace of progress of India.”
“This is the time of Amrit Kaal, the time to further strengthen the unity of India. The greater the unity, the greater the collective strength of India will reach. These Vande Bharat trains are also a reflection of this spirit,” PM Modi added.
Thanking PM Modi on the occasion, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said, “It is a matter of delight that the Vande Bharat Express between Puri and Howrah was launched by the Prime Minister.”
“We are developing Puri as an international heritage site. Even I had a discussion with PM Modi regarding the Shree Jagannath Puri international airport. We will incorporate all the suggestions given by the PM for making it a world-class seaside airport. I am hopeful, with your cooperation and support within three-four years, the airport will be ready and you (PM Modi) will come to Shreekhetra to dedicate it to the nation,” Patnaik added.
The CM also demanded two more Vande Bharat Express trains for the state on Puri-Rourkela and Bhubaneswar-Hyderabad routes. Besides, the CM sought passneger train on Angul-Sukinda and Paradip-Haridaspur lines. Patnaik expressed hope of introduction of bullet train under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.
This high-speed train, which will run six days a week except Thursdays with seven stoppages, will not only enhance connectivity but also redefine the travel experience.
The Vande Bharat train having 16 coaches will leave Howrah at 6:10 am and arrive in Puri at 12:35 pm. The express will depart from Puri at 1.50 pm and reach Howrah at 8:30 pm.
The stoppages are Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Khurda Road. The train will halt at each station for two minutes only.