Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off the Tejas Express between Madurai and Chennai, with two commercial stops. This will not only provide direct and faster connectivity on the busy route, but also benefit day time passengers. The buzz is that this is also the first luxury train linking Chennai Egmore with the southern districts.
The inaugural special left Madurai at 2.30 pm and is scheduled to arrive at the destination station at 9.15 pm. Here's all you need to know about this new train:
Reservations for the train - reportedly the fastest one in the Chennai-Madurai sector, covering the 496 km stretch in around six-and-half hours - are now open. The Vaigai Express, which till now was the fastest on the route, takes eight hours.
The Tejas Express will run six days a week, except Thursdays, and the following schedule will kick-off tomorrow. Train 22671 will leave Chennai Egmore at 6 am, leave Trichy at 10.25 am, leave Kodaikkanal Road at 11.40 am and reach Madurai at 12.30 pm. On the return leg, Train 22672 will leave Madurai at 3 pm, leave Kodaikkanal Road at 3.30 pm, leave Trichy at 4.52 pm and reach Chennai Egmore at 9.30 pm.
Hence it will prove a blessing for tourists visiting the popular hill station - the train will arrive at the Kodaikkanal station close to the typical hotel check-in time of 12 pm and, for the return journey, they can conveniently board the train post lunch.
The coaches of the improved Tejas Express Train No. 22671/22672 will be fully air-conditioned, boasting features such as airplane-like LED lights, fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) interior panels, GPS-based passenger information system, luxurious seats, smart windows with motor-operated venetian blinds, sliding coach doors, modular toilets, increased number of CCTV cameras, and sealed vestibules/gangways for easy coach-to-coach transit and automatic passenger area entry doors.
This, incidentally, will be the second Tejas Express service, the first being the one introduced on the Mumbai CST-Karmali route.
A seat in one of the 12 regular AC chair cars on the train will cost Rs 1,035 while travelling in the executive class coach will cost Rs 2,110 per person.
The new Tejas coaches, like the Shatabdi Express trains, will have a seating capacity of 56 passengers in the executive class chair car and 78 passengers in each of the regular air-conditioned chair cars. The train will reportedly also boast two generator cum luggage/brake vans.
The list includes better seats, a modern audio-and-visual entertainment display system, embedded in the dining table for the centre seat passengers and behind every seat for others, personalised reading lights, onboard WiFi service, USB charging ports with every seat and a revamped folding snack tray concealed below the hand rest of the coaches.