For the first time in its 166-year history, Indian Railways is letting go of its monopoly on rail travel.
Beginning tomorrow (Oct. 05), commuters between Delhi and Lucknow will be able to travel in a “private” train that comes with swanky, aircraft-like frills. The Tejas Express, flagged off by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath today (Oct. 04), is run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), an arm of the railways that recently made its stock market debut.
For travellers, IRCTC is offering a range of newer, more modern facilities.
Meals with local flavour
RO water purifiers in every coach
Tea and coffee vending machines
Aircraft-style trolleys for personnel to serve passengers
Home-to-destination luggage pickup and drop facility
Free travel insurance with a Rs25 lakh ($35,000) coverage
Airport-like lounge access at railway stations in the offing
Compensation to passengers for delays
Call buttons to request crew service
Onboard the Tejas Express, the IRCTC will have its own staff, such as ticket checkers, and service crew, though the loco pilots and guards will belong to Indian Railways.