India’s semi high-speed train breaks down a day after its launch

1 / 2
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) gets off a tain carriage during the flag off India's first engineless train Vande Bharat Express at New Delhi Railway station on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
2 / 2
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off India's fastest train 'Vande Bharat Express' at a ceremony in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 February 2019
0

India’s semi high-speed train breaks down a day after its launch

  • Cattle obstructions on roads and rail tracks are common in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh state where Saturday’s collision happened
  • Since coming to office, Modi’s nationalist party launched a crackdown on the slaughter of cows — considered sacred by many Hindus — which has led to crisis numbers of stray and unwanted cattle in the state

NEW DELHI: India’s first semi-high speed train broke down Saturday after colliding with a cow on the tracks, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new passenger service.
The Vande Bharat Express, touted as India’s fastest train and built under the Modi government’s flagship “Make in India” program, made its first journey Friday from New Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.
But on its return to the capital the next day a collision with a cow disrupted electricity supply to four carriages and damaged the brake system, according to Indian Railways.
“The train later experienced technical issues and was stranded on the way to Delhi,” Indian Railways spokeswoman Smita Vats Sharma told AFP.
The train reached the capital “safely” ahead of its first commercial journey on Sunday, she added.
Cattle obstructions on roads and rail tracks are common in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh state where Saturday’s collision happened.
Since coming to office, Modi’s nationalist party launched a crackdown on the slaughter of cows — considered sacred by many Hindus — which has led to crisis numbers of stray and unwanted cattle in the state.
India is struggling to upgrade its colonial-era railway system, which relies on creaking and outdated infrastructure to transport 23 million travelers each day.
The locally-made express train has a rated top speed of 180 kilometers (111 miles) an hour, 20 percent quicker than the next fastest train in service.
Railway authorities say the train is expected to reduce the 850-kilometer journey between the two cities from 14 to eight hours.
Saturday’s accident is the latest controversy for the express train — a pet project of Modi’s government, which has vowed to debut India’s first bullet train in 2022.
Last week India’s rail minister Piyush Goyal was left red-faced after he tweeted a digitally altered video of the train zipping by a station at lightning speed.
He was later accused of altering the video to make the train appear faster, triggering widespread social media ridicule.


Three of four engines on stricken Norway cruise ship restarted

Updated 24 March 2019
0

Three of four engines on stricken Norway cruise ship restarted

  • The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon Saturday about two kilometers off More og Romsdal in dangerous waters and high seas
  • The captain forced to send out a distress call and trigger a massive airlift operation

OSLO: A cruise ship that broke down in rough seas off the Norwegian coast with some 1,300 passengers and crew on board has restarted three of its four engines and will be towed to port, emergency services said Sunday.
“Three of the four engines are now working which means the boat can now make way on its own,” emergency services spokesman Per Fjeld said.
The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon Saturday about two kilometers (1.2 miles) off More og Romsdal in dangerous waters and high seas, prompting the captain to send out a distress call and trigger a massive airlift operation.
The airlift was continuing in the early morning, Fjeld said.
Police said 338 of the 1,373 people on board the Viking Sky had so far been taken off by helicopter.
The vessel is making slow headway at two to three knots (4-5 kilometers) an hour off the dangerous, rocky coast and a tug will help it toward the port of Molde, about 500 kilometers northwest of Oslo, officials said.
Police said that 17 people had been taken to hospital.
The passengers are mostly British or American, they added.