At present, a total of 26 pairs of Garib Rath train services are being operated on Indian Railways' network. These trains facilitate air-conditioned travel to passengers at fares which are lower than the normal AC-3 tier fares.
No proposal to discontinue Garib Rath train services on Indian Railways! Due to temporary shortage of coaches on Northern Railway zone, two pairs of Garib Rath trains namely, train number 12207/08 between Kathgodam and Jammu Tawi and train number 12209/10 between Kanpur and Kathgodam were temporarily operated as Express train services. However, following protests over discontinuation of the two Garib Rath trains recently, Indian Railways announced that from 4 August 2019 onwards, the Garib Rath services on these two routes will be restored, according to a PTI report. At present, a total of 26 pairs of Garib Rath train services are being operated on Indian Railways’ network. These trains facilitate air-conditioned travel to passengers at fares which are lower than the normal AC-3 tier fares.
According to the report, the initiation of Mail or Express trains in these routes means that train fares would go up for passengers. For example, a Delhi-Bandra Garib Rath train ticket that cost Rs 1,050 will now be priced at around Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 in case of Express trains. Meanwhile, the national transporter has clarified that there has been no proposal to discontinue the Garib Rath train services.
The Garib Rath trains were touted to be poor man’s no frills air-conditioned three-tier train. These trains were planned to be phased out by Indian Railways as well as replace them with Express trains with higher fares. The Garib Rath train was started in the year 2006 by then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The target passengers for this train service were middle and lower income class passengers. Indian Railways’ first Garib Rath train was flagged off from Saharsa in Bihar to Amritsar in Punjab.
However, the production of new coaches for the Garib Rath train has been stopped already putting a question mark on their continuance, considering that the present coaches are 10 to 14 years old and require heavy maintenance for which the national transporter will have to incur heavy cost, the report said.