By Dwaipayan Ghosh www.indiatimes.com
NEW DELHI: It’s raining trains for Delhiites this year. Northern Railway plans to launch 23 new trains soon, including two Duranto trains to Mumbai, one to Ajmer, one Shatabdi to Ludhiana, a double-decker to Jaipur and an Express train to Puducherry via Chennai.
Under the new schedule, the frequency of five trains has been increased and routes of six others (pertaining to Delhi) have been augmented. Trains to Gujarat and Rajasthan will have stoppages at Gurgaon.
Northern Railway has said that besides the introduction of new trains, special attention will be given to passenger amenities. New luggage trolleys, battery-operated vehicles for senior citizens and latest technology for washing linen has been procured, claimed railway officials. The department has spent Rs 13 crore on a centralized SMS campaign to create safety awareness among passengers.
General manager, Northern Railway, SK Budhalakoti said that Northern Railway had earned Rs 5100.15 crore last year, 19.6 per cent of the total passenger earnings of Indian Railways. With a subsequent passenger increase of 3.19 per cent last year compared to 2009, this financial year NR expects to grab more than 20 per cent of the entire passenger earnings. In addition, there has been a 12 per cent reduction in the number of rail accidents, he said. Even as he claimed this, a wagon coach near Tilak Bridge station was derailed on Wednesday night, which led to over 20 trains, including Rajdhanis, getting delayed.
Out of the 23 proposed train services including the AC double-decker, launch dates of 18 trains are yet to be announced. “These trains will definitely chug before March 31, 2012,” said Budhalakoti.
Local passengers too have something to cheer about. A new train for daily passengers in Ghaziabad will be pressed into service from July 1. While the frequency of five trains including Sealdah Duronto and Ajmer Shatabdi has been increased, the routes of 15 trains have been modified in the new time table.
The frequency of Sealdah Duronto has been increased to four days from two days a week. Ajmer Shatabdi has become a daily train instead of operating six days a week. New Delhi-Dehradun AC Express and Dibrugarh Rajdhani will also run on a daily basis.
The frequency of Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Udaipur Chetak Express has been increased from four days a week to seven days a week. Vivek Express and Kavi Guru Express announced in the Rail Budget 2011-12 have also found mention in the time table. However, the dates of launch of the weekly Vivek Express from Jammu Tawi to Bandra Terminal and the Kavi Guru Express from Kamakhya to Jaipur have not been announced.
“The launch date of Rajya Rani Express from Meerut to Lucknow will also be declared soon,” said Budhalakoti. Thirteen new express trains including an AC Express train from Anand Vihar to Sasaram will be introduced shortly.