Despite the steep fares, premium trains have been getting tremendous response from passengers. When reservations for LTT Varanasi Nagar Express were made available online, the entire train was booked within 35 minutes, raking in three times more revenue.
The Railways has decided to run more premium trains on busy routes and also explore the possibility of running semi-high speed trains.
Ticket-booking facility for such trains is available only online and there are no waiting lists or touts.
According to officials, the Railways will be able to earn around Rs 15,000 crore a year by running the trains and the money could be used for maintenance and stepping up the rail infrastructure. In this season, the Central Railway will run 26 premium trains, while Western Railway will run two trains from Mumbai.
Executive Director (Coaching), Railway Board P Guha said, “The premium trains are being run in areas where there is rush during peak season despite many trains already running. These trains are for those, who can afford the high fares.”
In LTT Varanasi premium train, the base fare of sleeper class was Rs 685. While the base ticket of AC III tier stood at Rs 1,785, this could rise to Rs 4,005, almost equivalent to a Rajdhani third AC tatkal fare.
A passenger, Vageesh Sahai, was happy when he saw that online tickets are available for Varanasi in LTT to Varanasi Premium train (02067) but was shocked when he saw the fare. “For one ticket from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Varanasi, the fare was Rs 5,000. Five members of our family are travelling, how can we afford such high rates ?”
In premium trains, there are no refunds except when the train is cancelled by the Railway itself due to unforeseen circumstances or due to severe disturbances affecting operations. All passengers are charged adult fare despite their age and there are no concessions. The fares applicable for each day/ transaction are indicated at the time of booking on the IRCTC e-ticketing website. The advance reservation period is shorter — maximum of 15 days, and the fare will be equal to or higher than the Rajdhani Tatkal fare. The fare is also likely to increase depending on the demand intensity.