In a bid to shift certain trains' authority to private players, the Indian Railways on Tuesday decided to handover the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express and the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express to the IRCTC as test cases, according to sources. These trains are considered to be a more luxurious version of Shatabdi Express and will be given a similar priority, it added.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will conduct the test runs at 'flexible' rates which will be announced by the operator anytime soon. As part of a pilot project, the two trains will be handed over to IRCTC, an subsidiary of Indian Railways', for a period of three years and no concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed in both the cases.
On-board ticket checking will not be done by the railway staff on these IRCTC trains, the Piyush Goyal-led Railway Board said, adding that the trains will be uniquely numbered and operated by the railways' operating staff - loco, pilots, guards and station masters.
Handing over the two Tejas Express trains to IRCTC is a first step towards Railway's aim at providing world-class passenger service by bringing in private operators, a proposal mooted by the railways in its 100-day plan.
Tejas Express, a luxury offering by the Indian Railways, is an AC chair car service which offers several aircraft-like features to railway passengers. The routes covered by the premium branded train also include Mumbai-Goa, Madurai-Chennai and Delhi-Chandigarh.
The train comes with many special features and amenities like - personalised LCD infotainment screens, leg rests in Executive class, personalised aircraft-style reading lights and attendant call buttons, automatic Venetian blinds on windows, swanky mini pantry, automatic interconnecting doors, sealed gangways, modular bio-toilets and automatic entry and exit doors.