New Delhi: The Indian railway is planning the commercial run of the much awaited Train 18 between New Delhi to Varanasi. The move is aimed in view of upcoming Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, which begins from January 14.Also Read - Netaji's Statue Will Inspire Democratic Values, Future Generations, Says PM Modi After Unveiling His Hologram

It is also likely to be one of the four special trains to ferry delegates of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 24 from the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad to the national capital in time for the Republic Day event. Also Read - 9 Most Colourful Streets in India Where You Will Find The Best Blend of Jazziness And Culture

The train which will run at a speed of 130 kmph will reduce the journey time between the two cities from the present 11 hours and 30 minutes to 8 hours, the Railways said. Also Read - In a First, Devotees at Kashi Vishwanath Temple to Wear Use & Throw Khadi Slippers

 “The train is 45 per cent faster than the fastest train on this route. It will be flagged off by the prime minister ahead of the Kumbh Mela,” said the source.

While Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who inspected the Train 18 rake, on Wednesday refused to give a date for the train’s first run, he said it will “begin service soon”.

Sources said a date will be finalised once the Railways gets a go-ahead from the PMO. While the train fare is not finalised yet, it is expected to include the cover of food. On its journey to Varanasi on its first run, it will have two stoppages – one at Kanpur and the other at Allahabad.

The Rs 100 crore engine-less train, developed by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), is regarded as a successor to the prestigious Shatabdi Express. The train is designed in such a way that passengers can have a look at the driver’s cabin. Fitted with CCTV cameras, Train 18 would have two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each, whereas trailer coaches would have 78 seats each.

It has diffused lighting, automatic doors, and footsteps beside GPS-based Passenger Information System.

The footstep in a coach’s doorway slides outward when the train stops at a station enabling passengers to alight safely with comfort in view of the variation in height between a train’s floor and the platform.

Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.