This move is a part of Indian Railways plan to ‘test private sector participation’ in the running of trains. Now the 1st train, operated by “private players”, to be run between Lucknow and Delhi will be the ‘Tejas Express’. While the Railway Board is deliberating on a second such route, which too would be within the 500-km range.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has drawn up a 100-day agenda or roadmap for the national transporter, and the proposal to get private passenger train operators to provide world-class passenger services is part of that. However, The train was announced in 2016 and has been recently introduced in the new time table.
As per the schedule, The Tejas Express (train number 12585) will depart from Lucknow Junction at 6.50 a.m. and reach New Delhi at 1.35 p.m. On the return journey, (train number 12586) it will leave from New Delhi at 3.35 p.m. to arrive in Lucknow Junction at 10.05 p.m. It will run on all days of the week except Sunday and Thursday.
It is currently parked at Anand Nagar Railway station and will be handed over to private players after an open-bidding process for operating it. The custody of the trains will be transferred to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which will pay for it, including their lease charges, to the financing arm, IRFC.
As per the agency report here, These two trains will be given on an experimental basis and will start running within 100 days. We have been trying to identify routes that have high congestion and connect important tourist spots. The route for the second train will also be identified soon.
Technically, It will offer number of premium services and comforts to the passengers. The train will have aircraft-like personalised LCD entertainment-cum-information screens, on-board Wi- Fi facility, comfortable seats, mobile charging points, personalised reading lights, modular bio-toilets and sensor tap fittings.
While the ‘seats’ will have an orange and yellow colour scheme that will match the exteriors of the train. It will also have Anti-graffiti vinyl wrapping and a swanky mini pantry. The gangways will be dust-sealed and automatic connecting doors as well as entry and exit doors will be the other features of the train, agency reported.
Despite all of this, The Lucknow-Delhi route is served by 53 trains including the Swarn Shatabdi. The UP capital, however, does not have a Rajdhani. While the proposal of the Railway Board in its 100-day plan was to offer two trains to operators who would be willing to be part of the bidding process for rights to run private passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities.