In a pioneering move, the Southern Railway is set to launch the first-ever overnight service of the semi-high-speed train, Vande Bharat, connecting the capital cities of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on November 21. The introduction of this overnight service aims to address the holiday rush of passengers traveling between Chennai and Bengaluru. Another Vande Bharat special service is scheduled to run between Yesvantpur/SMVT Bengaluru and Chennai Central on November 20.
The eight-coach Vande Bharat Express departing from Chennai Central station will embark on its journey at 11 pm on Tuesday (November 21) and is scheduled to arrive at SMVT Bengaluru at 4:30 am on Wednesday. The train is expected to cover the distance between the two cities in just 5.30 hours. On November 20, the Vande Bharat special will leave SMVT Bengaluru at 5:15 pm, reaching Chennai Central at 10 pm the same day.
Unlike the 34 existing Vande Bharat trains that operate during the day, this overnight service is a unique initiative by the Southern Railway to gauge passengers’ reactions. The Southern Railway had previously conducted four successful special services of Vande Bharat trains between Chennai, Egmore, and Tirunelveli to manage the Deepavali rush.
A senior Southern Railway official shared insights, stating, “No other railway zone in the country has so far run special services of Vande Bharat trains. Our Chennai-Tirunelveli special trains had very high patronage, and we wanted to check the reaction of the passengers for a sitting train during the night.”
Traditionally, the Railways operates trains with sleeper and AC coaches during the night to accommodate the holiday rush. The introduction of this special overnight service is a strategic move to assess passenger response. Based on the feedback received, the Southern Railway will decide whether to expand these special services of Vande Bharat during the night, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
The Southern Railway already operates one Vande Bharat, two Shatabdi Express, one double-decker, and two express trains between Chennai and Bengaluru during the day. The Vande Bharat Express and Shatabdi trains connecting Chennai and Mysuru are particularly favored by business travelers commuting to Bengaluru.