Free rail travel insurance of Rs 25 lakh each, luggage pick and drop service, exclusive lounges to relax and taxi and hotel bookings - IRCTC is offering passengers on board its Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express a host of services, albeit at a cost, as part of its efforts to promote its first train next month.
This is for the first time that IRCTC will be fully in charge of train services. Bringing in private train operators to provide world-class passenger service was a proposal mooted by the railways in its 100-day agenda as part of its move to hand over certain trains to private operators.
"Passengers of IRCTC's Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express to get free Rs 25 lakh rail travel insurance. The passengers of this train will also be given the facility of using retiring rooms at Lucknow junction station and executive lounge at New Delhi Railway station and lounge for meetings on demand," a document enumerating the operational details of the train said.
No concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed on these trains. Also, children above the age of 5 will be charged full fare.
"There will be no facility of tatkal quota. Five seats each will be reserved for foreign tourists in Executive Class and AC Chair car," it said.
The document also said that the fares of the train will be dynamic and will be competitive as against taxi, bus and flight fares on the same route.
Fares will be decided based on peak or lean season, festival season and according to demand, it said.
Unlike the 120-day advance booking allowed across the railway network, IRCTC's train will allow such booking 60 days prior to the day of the journey.
The train will also have a chair car which will allow passengers to book group tickets on the first-cum-first-serve basis. For group bookings, 78 seats in one AC chair car will be available and have to be booked at least three days in advance from date of journey. This facility will be available online.
Free tea and coffee will on offer through vending machines and water will be provided through RO machines for passengers on demand.
Just like in flights, meals will be served by onboard service staff by trolleys.
Another unique facility which will only be available for passengers on board IRCTC'S Tejas trains will be the service of pick up and drop of passenger luggage, the logistics of which is still being drafted by the railway subsidiary.
"IRCTC is planning a scheme whereby it will ferry the luggage of passengers from their homes to their seats and from the seat to their destination on a payment basis. For this, discussions are underway with service providers. This is to ensure that passengers can travel without being concerned about their luggage. All the luggage will be insured," the document said.
A similar system is followed in Japan for their Shinkansen trains in which passengers travel without any onboard luggage which are picked up by service providers and left at the destination of their choice, enabling the travellers to travel hassle-free.
The train is likely to depart from Delhi at 4:30 pm and reaches Lucknow at 10:45 pm and on its return journey, it will depart at 6:10 am and reach the Capital at 12:25 pm. The train will run six days a week, except Tuesdays.
However, the timings are yet to be finalised.