The Indian Railways will soon add a new train to its fleet of Rajdhani expresses by starting another Delhi-Mumbai service covering Kalyan, Nasik and Khandwa in the Central Railway zone in Maharashtra, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. This will be the first such train passing through the Central zone, covering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Kalyan, Nasik, Jalgaon, Khandwa, Bhopal, Jhansi, Agra, and Hazrat Nizamuddin. At present there are two Rajdhani trains running between Delhi and Mumbai.
"We will soon flag off another Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani which will be the first Rajdhani to pass through Central Railways zone. This was a request from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis," he said. The current fleet size of Rajdhani trains on the railway network is 23, with two catering to Mumbai.
Currently, two Rajdhani trains - one from Mumbai Central and the other from Bandra Terminus run on Western Railway. This will be the first Rajdhani in the state which will take a detour via Madhya Pradesh, instead of Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the Railways is likely to begin the commercial run of the much-awaited Train 18 between Delhi and Varanasi next week, just ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad which begins on January 14, sources said. It is also likely to be one of the four special trains to ferry delegates of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 24 from the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad to the national capital in time for the Republic Day event.
The train which will run at a speed of 130 kmph will reduce journey time between the two cities from the present 11 hours and 30 minutes to 8 hours, the Railways said. "The train is 45 per cent faster than the fastest train on this route. It will be flagged off by the prime minister ahead of the Kumbh Mela," said source.
While Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who inspected the Train 18 rake, on Wednesday refused to give a date for the train's first run, he said it will "begin service soon". Sources said a date will be finalised once the Railways gets a go ahead from the PMO. While the train fare is not finalised yet, it is expected to include the cover of food. On its journey to Varanasi on its first run, it will have two stoppages - one at Kanpur and the other at Allahabad.