Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday described the launch of the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express as a “Navratri gift” for devotees of Vaishno Devi.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express from the New Delhi Railway Station and said it was a “big gift” for Jammu and Kashmir’s development.

“A Navratri gift for my sisters and brothers of Jammu as well as devotees of Maa Vaishno Devi! The New Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Maa Vaishno Devi, Katra will improve connectivity as well as spiritual tourism,” the prime minister tweeted.

The high-speed Vande Bharat Express is set to commence its commercial run between New Delhi and Katra station in Jammu and Kashmir from October 5.

The newest railway service, popularly known as Train 18, is set to bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on way to the Vaishno Devi temple, to eight hours from the current 12 hours.

The Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express (22439) will depart from New Delhi railway station at 6 AM and reach Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra, at 2 PM.

With PTI inputs