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IRCTC plans a slew of goodies for Tejas Express

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Expess is likely to start operations this December.  

The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express will be the first train that will not be operated by the Railways, perhaps as early as the first week of October.

The Ministry of Railways plans to allow private players to operate certain trains, and as part of its 100-day agenda, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been asked to run two trains. The second, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Expess, is likely to start operations this December.

To make the travel attractive, on offer are: free travel insurance worth ₹25 lakh, on-board infotainment services, doorstep baggage collection, local food and no tatkal quota. IRCTC, a public sector undertaking, will pay the Railways lease and haulage charges for running these trains. However, the loco-pilots, guards and station masters will be from the Railways. The train fares, facilities, on-board advertising, on-board house-keeping, on-board ticket checking and on-board catering, will all be managed by IRCTC.

Both trains will run six days a week. These trains will have an advance reservation period of 60 days and no concessions or railway privilege or duty passes will be allowed on these trains. Only children below 5 years of age will be exempted from fare. While the fares have still not been made public, IRCTC will have the liberty to decide the fare.

In addition, there will be no tatkal quota or premium tatkal quota in these trains. There will be only general quota and foreign tourist quota. IRCTC is also mulling sale of merchandise goods on board, as is done in the aviation sector. Similarly, service in the train will be provided via trolleys as in done in airlines.

IRCTC says, “high quality food and beverages” will be provided to the passengers on board in the train. Food charges will be compulsory and will be collected when tickets are booked. Free tea and coffee will be available in trains from vending machines. Each coach will have RO water filter; packaged drinking water bottle for each passenger will be there as well.

“IRCTC is planning to imbibe regional delicacies having local and ethnic cuisines to suit the taste buds of passengers. On board hospitality services will be managed through professional and competent staff from either gender,” it said. Executive Lounge facility at New Delhi railway station for IRCTC passengers is also on the cards.

In case of cancellation of train, automatic full refund of full fare will be made. There will be to cancel the ticket or filing TDR in such cases.

IRCTC is working out the option for passengers to have their baggage collected from homes and delivered to them in the train on their seats and vice versa. “Passengers will be able to travel without worrying for their luggage. Luggage will be insured,” IRCTC said. Taxis and hotels could also be booked via IRCTC as well.

The two trains will be operated by IRCTC initially for three years. The haulage charges will be payable by IRCTC to Indian Railways for each trip on a monthly basis. In addition, IRCTC will pay charges for custody of train from the date of handing over such rakes.

IRCTC will be free to advertise inside and outside the coaches. It will also be liberty to make modifications inside the rake without making structural changes or any changes that affect safety.

The ticket checking staff of Indian Railways will not do on-board checks on these two trains. However, minimum required electrical and mechanical staff from Indian Railways will be deputed on the train. All terms will be reviewed after a year.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 10:56:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/irctc-plans-a-slew-of-goodies-for-tejas-express/article29403600.ece

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