AHEAD OF the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led central government is set to roll out a new Rajdhani Express on Central Railway (CR) to woo north Indian voters in Mumbai as well as in the Congress bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Further, a new Rajdhani Express between Mumbai and Delhi, also on CR, will be flagged off before the code of conduct kicks. Sources said the new Rajdhani will be flagged-off by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goel on Republic Day.
Speaking at a rally in Rae Bareli on December 16 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised a new train for commuters who travel between Mumbai and Rae Bareli. A senior Railway Board official said that to fulfil that promise, the Railways ministry has ordered a new train for Rae Bareli, which will also connect to Amethi.
Currently, two trains connect Rae Bareli to Mumbai. First is the Saket Express, which is divided at Pratapgarh junction, with half the coaches then headed for Rae Bareli and the other half to Faizabad junction. The ministry will now introduce a new rake that will be added to CR services and run from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Rae Bareli. The other train that connects Mumbai and Rae Bareli is the Udyog Nagri Express. A senior Railway Board member said the traffic on this route is high and a new train will be introduced in May to ease the pressure off the Udyog Nagri Express.
Meanwhile, a CR official said that the final trial for new Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani will be conducted on January 16 and January 17. “By January 21, we expect to get approval from the commissioner of Railway Safety,” said an official.
The new Rajdhani Express will have 15 coaches and ply from CSMT every Saturday and Wednesday. It will depart from Hazrat Nizamuddin every Friday and Monday. The train will have eight halts — CSMT, Kalyan, Nasik, Jalgaon, Bhopal, Jhansi, Agra Cantt and Nizamuddin.