A journey in Indian Railways Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains is always said to be a better experience compared to other AC trains given in the premium standard that the national transporter aims to maintain. For those of you who travel on Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains, the journey is getting better and will improve further in the coming days.
A journey in Indian Railways Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains is always said to be a better experience compared to other AC trains given in the premium standard that the national transporter aims to maintain. But, with the introduction of the swankier all-AC 3-tier Humsafar Express trains and chair car Tejas Express service, Indian Railways has decided to upgrade the experience of train passengers on Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express services. Indian Railways is also facing competition from both roadways and aviation sector and any improvement in service standards of these premium trains is one of the basic steps that the national transporter should take. For those of you who travel on Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains, the journey is getting better and will improve further in the coming days. From train ride experience to passenger comfort and food, we take a look at how Indian Railways is upgrading your travel experience on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains:
Smoother, jerk-free rides: Come October, you can say goodbye to jerks when travelling on Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express trains. Indian Railways is installing a new type of coupler system in these premium trains in a bid to provide smoother train travel experience to its passengers. A coupler is the device that connects coaches. The new centre buffer coupler will be equipped with a balanced draft gear. This in turn has high-capacity shock absorbers which will make sure that passengers enjoy a jerk-free ride. By October-end all Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains originating from Delhi will have the new couplers, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani recently said. A senior railway ministry official involved in the project told Financial Express Online that all zones have been asked to install the new couplers on the premium trains on priority and by December end all Rajdhanis and Shatabdis should be able to offer the comfort of jerk-free rides.
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Operation Swarn: When passengers pay extra to undertake journeys in premium trains, they also expect better seats, comforts and service standards. Operation Swarn is Indian Railways project to upgrade several Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains at a cost of Rs 50 lakh per rake. The upgrade is happening on 10 main parameters including passenger comfort, cleanliness, punctuality and service standards. Many Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains have been upgraded on key routes under the project that aims to provide ‘Gold’ standards – hence the name Operation Swarn. The senior railway official told FE Online that the first phase of the project that involves revamp of 14 Rajdhani Express and 15 Shatabdi Express trains will be completed by the end of September.
Stink-free toilets: Faced with criticism over poor hygiene standards and foul smell in toilets, Indian Railways is looking to install aircraft-like flushing system. As many as 500 AC coaches have been identified for the same and Indian Railways hopes that with the help of bio-vacuum toilets, the flushing system will be more efficient, reducing the chances of foul smells. Indian Railways will accord priority of fitting these bio-vacuum toilets in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains, the official told FE Online. Additionally, odour-control systems are also being attached to the flush which release a pleasant smell each time the toilet is used.
Better quality food, new menu: The quality of food on Indian Railways trains has always been an area of complaint for passengers. IRCTC, the catering arm of Indian Railways, has now changed the menu for Rajdhani Express trains in a bid to maintain better quality of the food that it serves. The new menu means that the quantity of food served has been cut down – for example – the quantity of dal and vegetable have been reduced. Also, IRCTC has decide to serve boneless chicken in the non-vegetarian menu. In an interaction with FE Online, IRCTC MD MP Mall said that the new menu focuses on quality without any increase in food rate for passengers. A change in the menu of Shatabdi Express trains is also on the cards with the introduction of aircraft-like combo meals. Some of the items being considered include idli sambar and chhola bhatura!
Additionally, Indian Railways is also reviewing its flexi-fare scheme under which the fares of premium trains go up with increase in occupancy. Reports suggest that the review may include discounts on less busy routes or a fare system like Humsafar Express trains.