Seen as Indian Railways' gift to train passengers ahead of Diwali, the busy Mumbai-Delhi route will have a new cheaper and faster Rajdhani for commuters. The new Rajdhani Express to Mumbai will have Nizamuddin and Bandra as its terminating stations.
The new Rajdhani is expected to bring down the travel time between national capital and financial capital from 15 hours to 13 hours. The special train will be introduced on this route on October 16 from Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi to the Bandra Terminus in Mumbai.
A journey on the new train will cost passengers Rs 600-800 less than the two other Rajdhanis already on the route. Once operational, the new Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani will be the third Rajdhani train serving this route. Currently, Mumbai Rajdhani Express between New Delhi to Mumbai Central and the August Kranti Rajdhani between Nizamuddin and Mumbai Central ply on this route.
The Delhi-Mumbai distance of 1,377 km takes 15 hours in Mumbai Rajdhani. However, the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours to travel the same distance and there is no halt at Bandra station.
"The special Rajdhani will initially run for three months - from October 16 to January 16 - for three days a week.
The new train comes at a time when Indian Railways has been losing its passengers to airlines as fares in AC 2 Tier and AC 1 Tier are most of the times higher that flights between two cities. Moreover, the dynamic pricing in premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto has veered many passengers away from premium trains.
The idea was to reduce the travel time by two hours with the current infrastructure and rolling stock. The trials have been successful," said Md Jamshed, Member, Traffic, Railway Board.
Presently, the route is served by the August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani.
While the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours to traverse the distance between the national capital, the Mumbai Central-Delhi Rajdhani covers it in just under 16 hours. Neither halts at Bandra.
The new train will take just under 14 hours to run between the two cities and will have three stops -- Kota, Vadodara and Surat.
Jamshed said the train will be beneficial for travellers as it will reach the respective destinations at around 6:00 am, giving them more time to spend in the city as well as helping them avoid suburban peak hour traffic.
The train will chug-off from Delhi on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from Bandra on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
"Flexi fare shall not be levied on bookings on this train. The fare of the train, however, will be 20 per cent more than the base fare of the existing Rajdhanis on the route. The concession is between Rs 600-Rs 835," said Jamshed.
As compared to the maximum flexi fare for the Mumbai- Delhi Rajdhani for second AC of Rs 4,105, this train will cost Rs 3270. Similarly, as compared to the third AC flexi fare of Rs 2925, this train will cost Rs 2,325.
The catering services will be optional resulting in further reduction in prices if the passenger chooses to opt out.
The special train will comprise one first AC, two 2AC and twelve 3AC coaches besides a pantry car and two power cars.
The train will be hauled by two electric locomotives for better acceleration, deceleration and higher speed. It will run at a maximum speed of 130 kmph.
The Delhi-Mumbai line is important for the railways as the route, once frequented mostly by business travellers, has been losing passengers to airlines.
The route is also one of the two to be developed into special corridors with semi-high-speed services.
with PTI inputs