Actually, since the launch of Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, T-18 rakes have not been sent to Shop Maintenance. Therefore, it is scheduled to be sent to the factory for intermediate overhauling (IOH) schedule (SS-1). So till this rake will not return from maintenance, the train will run with rake of Tejas Express.
A senior official of Northern Railway Headquarter said that the schedule has been fixed for maintenance of T18 rakes of Varanasi Vande Bharat Express. For this, the T18 rake will be removed from operation and will be sent to Charbagh workshop in Lucknow and Maintenance Shed Shakurbasti in Delhi. Therefore, Tejas rakes have been arranged in place of T18 coaches of Vande Bharat Express.
Since the T18 rakes has been installed on the route from New Delhi to Varanasi, it has not been sent for overhauling. According to the rules, it is necessary to send rake to workshop for overhauling after completing 18 months or completing the journey of 6 lakh km, but this work has not been done yet. Therefore, taking this rake to workshop, train bogie, wheel, suspension system etc. will be separated and its proper maintenance will be done.
The T18 train trial run between New Delhi to Varanasi took place on 2 February 2019, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PM Modi) flagged it off in the second week of February. After that the train continued to run until lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak. The train remained closed for 173 days during lockdown. After this, train started running again from 12 September 2020.
So far, the operation of Varanasi Vande Bharat Express is being done only with T18 rakes. But now it will run with Tejas rakes for one and a half months. Tejas Express is India’s first semi high speed train capable to run at a speed of 180 kmph. Although fare of Vande Bharat Express is more than the Tejas Express.
Railway officials say that Varanasi Vande Bharat Express will be again operated with T18 rakes from April 2021. An official says that the North Railway is currently also operating Vande Bharat Express with T-18 rake between Katra-New Delhi. For these two trains, T18 has got two rakes only. North Railway should have a spare rake according to the law. But due unavailable of spare rake, Tejas will be operated in place of Vande Bharat Express.