April 5, 2013 3:23:41 am
The Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi has had an occupancy of around 70 per cent since it was flagged off on January 14 this year. A proposal is now on the anvil to introduce stoppages at Ambala and Kurukshetra on the lines of the two Kalka Shatabdi trains.
As many as 34,308 passengers have travelled from Chandigarh to Delhi on this train from January 14 to March 30. The train departs from the city at 12 noon and reaches Delhi at 3.30 pm. Officials claim that the occupancy on the return journey is also similar. The train departs from Delhi at 7.15 pm and reaches Chandigarh at 10.30 pm.
The train plies for six days a week,except on Sundays. A proposal is under consideration to start operation of the train on Sunday and discontinue the journey on one of the weekdays. Data of passengers over the past two months shows that more passengers travelled on the train on Friday and Saturday than the other days. In fact,before the train was started,there used to be a long waiting list for the Kalka Shatabdi trains over the weekends.
Chief Public Relations Officer (Northern Railway) Naresh Sharma says,The train was started after much demand from the passengers since the Kalka Shatabdi trains that were already plying were packed to capacity. The train has received a positive response. In the coming days,stoppages would be introduced at Ambala and Kurukshetra. This would further increase the occupancy.
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On Sundays when the third Shatabdi does not ply,there is a waiting list for the Kalka Shatabdi. In fact,the passenger traffic between Chandigarh and Delhi is so high that even buses ply packed. A railway official says that it is expected that if the train is started on Sunday,it would get a good response. The operation could be stalled once in the middle of the week.
Starting the third Shatabdi in the afternoon was a long-pending demand of the city residents. After being given a miss in subsequent budgets,it was finally started this year. The timing of the third Shatabdi when it was initially started was 11.40 am. However,this was too close to the time of arrival of the Kalka Shatabdi from Delhi. Thereafter,it was shifted by 20 minutes.
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