Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday virtually flagged-off the Vande Bharat train service between Secunderabad in Telangana and the port city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti.

The first Vande Bharat Express train to operate between the two Telugu states will run between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam in eight hours and 30 minutes.

As the event coincided with the Army Day, the Prime Minister paid rich tributes to the serving and retired personnel and hailed their commitment in protecting the country and its borders and said their value was matchless.

In his virtual address, Modi said Vande Bharat connects the cultures of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

“Vande Bharat is a true replica of India which is coming out of the mentality of dependence and moving towards Atmanirbharta (self-reliance),” the PM said.

The regular services of the train would start on January 16 and the bookings commenced on Saturday, railway sources said. The Visakhapatnam Secunderabad Vande Bharat Express (20833) will start at 05.45 AM and reach Secunderabad at 2.15 PM.

It will leave Secunderabad at 3 PM and reach Visakhapatnam at 11.30 PM. In between, the train will stop at Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Khammam and Warangal in both directions, South Central Railway (SCR) officials said.

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Also present on the occasion were Governor CV Ananda Bose and Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

The train comprises 14 AC Chair Car Coaches and two Executive AC Chair Car Coaches with a capacity of 1,128 passengers. It will provide the fastest traveling facility between these two stations and has exclusive reserved sitting accommodation, they said.

The train is manufactured with indigenous technology, equipped with modern features and enhanced comfort. The train has automatic sliding doors, provided with reclining seats in all classes and rotating seats in the executive class.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Tourism, Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy, and Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan were present at the Secunderabad railway station during the inauguration.

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