Yogi Adityanath flags off Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, India's first private train, in Lucknow

FP Staff

The Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express was flagged off by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Friday. India's first private train will cover the journey between the two cities in six hours and 15 minutes.

The train is scheduled to make its first commercial run on 5 October. According to the schedule, the train will leave Lucknow at 6.10 am and reach New Delhi Railway station at 12.25 pm. On its return journey, the train will leave Delhi at 3.35 pm and reach Lucknow at 10.05 pm. The Tejas Express will have only two halts €" Kanpur and Ghaziabad.

It is to run on all days of the week, except Tuesday. If this experiment of handing over certain operations to IRCTC is successful, the railways will make way for private operators to run trains in India, officials said.

The Railway Board has already asked zonal railways to consider the feasibility of running private trains on 50 key routes, including Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah. The Tejas Express is a more premium version of the Shatabdi Express category of air-conditioned chair cars.

This is the first train of the Indian Railways that will be fully run by its subsidiary IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), which will be solely responsible for the operations of the train service and is the national transporter's first step towards privatising operations of some trains.

IRCTC will have the rights to advertise on these trains to earn non-fare revenues, a railway official told LiveMint.

It is also for the first time that IRCTC has introduced the concept of partial refunds if there is any delay in train.

While the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas is to start its services in October, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad train is likely to start in December. IRCTC will operate the two trains for three years. The trains are expected to run six days a week.

Bringing in private operators to provide world-class passenger amenities was a proposal mooted by the railways in its first 100-day agenda under the Modi 2.0 government as part of its move to hand over certain trains to private players.

Some of the key features of the train are charging points with all seats, reclining seats, toilet occupancy indicator, fire extinguisher, CCTV and reading lights. All passengers travelling in the train will also be granted a free rail travel insurance of Rs 25 lakh and travel insurance by IRCTC also includes coverage of Rs 1 lakh against robbery and household theft during the travel period of passengers.

According to Financial Express, passengers booking tickets for IRCTC Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express must pay for the meals. This is mandatory to book tickets for IRCTC Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express. Passengers on board will be provided with premium quality food and beverages. Tea and coffee vending machines have been installed in the train.

Instead of 120 days, Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express will have an advanced reservation period of 60 days. The IRCTC-operated train will not support any tatkal or premium tatkal quota. However, an AC chair car coach of 78 seats will be available for group/bulk booking. Also, after the chart preparation, the train will be available for current booking.

With inputs from agencies

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