The much-anticipated AC Double Decker daily express train to Bangalore will commence operations on Thursday, bringing to fruition a proposal announced in the 2012-13 Railway Budget.
Advance reservation for the Chennai-Bangalore and the Bangalore-Chennai services will commence on Tuesday.
A formal launch date for the service had been pending for weeks even after the Railway Ministry’s Research Design and Standards Organisation had given clearance in March after conducting two sets of trials. The RDSO had fixed a speed cap of 110 kph.
As the train will consist of 10 AC Chair Car coaches, the Chennai-Bangalore fare has been pegged at Rs. 470. This is the same as the AC chair car fares for other trains such as the Brindavan, Lal Bagh or Bangalore express trains.
The Double Decker takes about six hours to cover the 362-km distance between the two metro cities which makes it about ten minutes quicker than the other morning train the Brindavan Express which leaves at 7.50 a.m. and reaches Bangalore at 2 p.m. The quickest mode of travel is the Shatabdi Express which covers the distance in five hours though those with a need for speed will have to fork out a fare of Rs. 595.
The Train No.22625 Chennai Central – Bangalore City Double Decker Express will leave Chennai Central at 7.25 a.m. and reach Bangalore City at 1.30 p.m.
The return service, Train No.22626 Bangalore City - Chennai Central Express will leave Bangalore City at 2.40 p.m. and arrive at Chennai Central at 8.45 p.m.
The stoppages for the train are at Arakkonam, Katpadi, Ambur, Jolarpettai, Bangarapet, Krishnarajapuram and Bangalore Cantonment. The Bangalore-Chennai train will also have a stop at Perambur.
With each two-tiered chair car coach housing 120 seats — much more than other trains on this route such as the Shatabdi (78) or the Brindavan Express (72) — the Double Decker can peddle many more seats.
The larger pool of 1,200 reservation seats on a morning train can be a boon for passengers on the heavily congested Chennai-Bangalore route.
The Double Decker trains with trademark red-and-yellow stainless steel LHB chassis also boast several technological features. The coaches were built by the Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala on an anti-climbing template that is a guarantee against a pile-up of coaches in the case of a mishap. Some of the other features include a GPS-based Passenger Information System that scrolls real-time running position, train speed and distance to the next station, quickly operable emergency windows, air suspension system and multiple shock absorbers for a smooth ride and fire extinguishers in all coaches.
The primary maintenance of the Double Decker train, which has coaches with a height of 4,366 mm and width of 3,050 mm as against the conventional specs of 4,025 mm and 3,240 mm, will be carried out at the Basin Bridge train care depot.