Tejas Express, India's first private train, was flagged off today on the Delhi-Lucknow route. After showing the green flag to Tejas Express, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath pitched for a "semi-bullet train" on the Agra-Varanasi route. Mr Adityanath also suggested similar trains to Allahabad and Gorakhpur. "If the railway board takes any initiative on this, the state will bear the cost on the Agra-Varanasi route," the Chief Minister said.
The commercial run of the new Tejas Express starts on Saturday and the new train cuts the travel time between the two cities to six hours and 15 minutes from the six hours and 40 minutes taken by the Swarna Shatabdi, currently the fastest train on the route.
The new IRCTC Tejas Express train has modern features like on-board meals, tea, coffee and RO machines, personalised reading lights, AC coaches, mobile charging points, CCTV cameras, bio-toilets, LED TV and automatic doors.
"Tejas Express is the first corporate train of the country. I congratulate the first batch of passengers travelling in it and hope such initiatives are taken to connect other cities as well," Yogi Adityanath said.
The Chief Minister also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for giving "the first corporate train from the biggest state to Delhi."
Yogi Adityanath also said air tickets are expensive and there was no facility earlier to reach Delhi in the afternoon and return to Lucknow at night.
"This is a competitive era and there is a need for environment-friendly public transport to be accepted in the society," the Chief minister said adding that healthy competition increases affordability.
"When mobile phones were first introduced, the charges were astronomical but now every person has it. This happened due to healthy competition," the Chief Minister was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The Tejas Express 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. Tejas Express will take a little over 6 hours to travel between the two stations. It will stop at two stations - Kanpur and Ghaziabad.
Tejas Express will run six days a week, except Tuesday.
In a first, passengers will be compensated for any delay on an hourly basis. Also, each passenger will get free Rs 25 lakh insurance. The Tejas Express ticket would cost Rs 1,280 for AC chair car passengers and Rs 2,450 for executive chair car. Due to dynamic pricing, the costliest Tejas ticket till now be Rs 4,325.
The Tejas Express is a premium version of the Shatabdi Express category of air-conditioned chair-car trains. It can carry 758 passengers at a time.
(With inputs from PTI)