The upcoming Indore-Varanasi private train would run three days a week - two days via Lucknow and one day via Allahabad.
Indore-Varanasi private Humsafar Express coming soon! IRCTC’s third private train on the Indian Railways network would run between Indore and Varanasi! Recently, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav was quoted in a PTI report saying that the overnight train would have similar rakes as those of Indian Railways’ Humsafar Express. He further said that the upcoming train service will ply on the Indore-Varanasi route. Currently, the e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, IRCTC operates the first two private trains of India – Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express and Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express.
According to officials quoted in the report, the upcoming Indore-Varanasi private train would run three days a week – two days via Lucknow and one day via Allahabad. The new Humsafar Express would be the first private train by IRCTC to have sleeper coaches, and not chair car coaches. The upcoming private train is likely to begin its operations around February 20.
The Humsafar Express trains of Indian Railways are an upgraded version of the premium Rajdhani Express trains, best suitable for overnight long-distance journeys. The fully air-conditioned train service boasts various modern features such as comfortable berths, extensive fire retardant, and suppression system, tea/coffee/soup vending machines, GPS-based passenger information system, multiple mobile charging points, LED lights, toilet occupancy indicators, CCTV cameras, modular bio-toilets, etc.
According to Yadav, more than two dozen private firms, including global majors Alstom Transport, Macquarie, Bombardier, and Siemens AG have shown interest in the proposal. He further said that Tata is among the companies which have shown interest to run private trains on the Indian Railways network.
According to the Railway Board Chairman, while as many as 150 trains that are to be run by private players are in the pipeline, till the modalities are complete, IRCTC, the catering and e-ticketing arm of Indian Railways, will continue to operate the trains. In fact, the move by Indian Railways to let private operators run passenger trains has attracted more than two dozen companies. While the infrastructure, operations, safety, and maintenance will be handled by the national transporter, the private players can take rakes on lease and offer better on board experience and services to railway passengers, in terms of comfort, food, entertainment, among others, he said.
Recently, a discussion paper was issued by NITI Aayog and Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry has forecast investment of around Rs 22,500 crore to run the 150 private trains across 100 Indian Railways’ routes. The private firms will have to bid for a network of routes, however, the bids will be finalized on a revenue-sharing model.