The Indian Railways has announced plans to revamp the Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains in its fleet, modelling them after the recently introduced Tejas Express that have featured faster average speeds and a more comfortable and entertaining journey for the visitors. The move comes after complaints of poor food and hygiene on the trains, which have been the Railways premium service for several decades.
The Railways announced its plans as part of what it is calling ‘Operation Swarn’, and the initial trials of the new services will be carried out on the Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdis. The authorities have decided to bring in trolleys for better catering, and to introduce new uniforms and gloves for the staff for better hygiene and cleanliness. Also, the punctuality of the running trains will be closely monitored and delays will be cut down. Also to be introduced are entertainment packages like those in long distance flights, where passengers will be able to watch movies and TV shows, and listen to music on their seats.A senior Railway Ministry official told news agency IANS, “The plan will be upgraded in future with services like Wi-Fi, infotainment screens (that were first provided in Tejas Express) and coffee vending machines. Also talked of was a better security system for the trains, including an adequate deployment of Railways Police Force(RPF) personnel. The upgradation will cover all the 15 Shatabdis as well 15 Rajdhanis, and will cost an estimated 30 crore. The projected is slated to begin September 26.
In May this year, the Indian Railways had launched the Tejas Express with its swanky new coach interiors, offering a flight like experience for the passengers at a much cheaper ticket – it was Rs.1500 for the trip from Mumbai to Goa and took eight hours. The Tejas Express is designed to travel at a maximum speed of 200km/h, but it reached only 130 km/h on the Konkan line for security concerns. The move is seen as the Railways efforts to push back against cheap domestic flights that have eaten into their share of revenues.