Humsafar Express, an all AC-3 tier premium service of the Indian Railways, is all set to replace the Garib Rath train on the Delhi-Chennai route. A railway official that Financial Express Online spoke to said that the decision has been taken because the existing coaches of the Delhi-Chennai Garib Rath are in poor condition and maintenance is increasingly becoming an area of concern. “New coaches are not being manufactured as of now, so we have decided to replace the Garib Rath with Humsafar Express rake so that passengers are not inconvenienced,” the official said. FE Online learns that the new Humsafar Express rake will start playing by the end of September, but for the time being no additional fare will be charged.
“Bookings for Garib Rath have already happened. Hence till December the Humsafar Express rake will be used without offering additional features of the train such as tea/coffee vending machine. No additional fare will be charged. But from December onwards, the train will run as a regular Humsafar Express service with all its features and fare,” the official said.
From a passenger perspective however, replacing Garib Rath with Humsafar Express will mean doling out additional money from December. Humsafar Express, unlike Garib Rath, is a premium train service with several passenger-friendly features such as tea/coffee vending machines, comfortable seats, charging points, modular toilets, GPS-based passenger information screens, LED lights, CCTVs etc. Garib Rath, on the other hand, is a pocket-friendly low-cost third AC train which caters to the needs of the common man. Reports suggest that passengers pay have to shell out much more now with fares of Humsafar Express starting at around Rs 2,000 and increasing as the demand grows.
With the implementation of this move, the fares will increase by Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per passenger for Third AC Class travel in Humsafar Express train, reports suggest. According to reports, the fare of regular AC three-tier train services, operating between Chennai and New Delhi, begins from Rs 2,050, but passengers were able to travel in Garib Rath train for Rs 1,380 only. The Garib Rath Express trains were introduced in the year 2005 by Indian Railways in order to provide AC class travel to passengers at a lower price.
As per the Indian Railways board order, with effect from September 29, the Northern and Southern zones of Indian Railways will suspend booking of Garib Rath Express trains and shall define Humsafar Express train service on the notified fare structure of the train.