In a bid to avert the financial situation from going out of control, the Railways have started relooking at continuing with unviable trains, particularly the premier non-stop Duronto family of trains.
The Railways have more than 60 Duronto trains, which the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee introduced despite opposition. These trains run from one end to another without any stoppage in between and were put on a higher pedestal than the Rajdhani Express series of trains.
But for some of the Durontos doing well, the occupancy of most others is far from satisfactory particularly because a superfast train without stopovers is not a viable proposition. Economies of scale emphasise the need for short distance travelling as they yield more revenue to the transporter.
Hence the Duronto was never considered a revenue-earning train. But the Railways dithered in tapering off their services in fear that it would create a bad impression. The recent decision to hike its fares on par with Rajdhanis made matters worse.
The Railways have converted the Hazrat Nizamuddin-Ajmer Sharif Duronto into a Janshatabdi. The Coimbatore-Thiruvananthapuram has been converted into a regular train.
Altogether six Duronto trains have been converted into regular trains so far. The authorities have decided to halt most of the other trains at various points along the journey.
The duration of journey of such trains would naturally be affected and it remains to be seen if these trains would continue to enjoy a cutting edge over the Rajdhani thereafter.
The Railways have also decided to take a look at most of the regular trains as well and trim those which run at less than their capacity. Coaches would be withdrawn from such trains and attached with the ones which operate way above their capacity as one way of increasing internal generation of resources.