After two years of wait, India’s fastest train, the “semi-bullet” Gatimaan Express, is set to begin its inaugural run on April 5. But instead of New Delhi, it will depart from Hazrat Nizamuddin and reach Agra in 100 minutes.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will not be at the station to flag off the train. Instead he will flag off the train with remote control from Rail Bhawan at 10 am.
The proper commercial run of the train, slated to achieve a top speed of 160 kmph — a landmark for India — will commence from April 6.
The 12049/50 Gatimaan Express will clock a speed of 160 km per hour speed in the Tughlakabad-Agra section. Prior to that, it is slated to run at 120 km per hour.
The original idea to run the train from New Delhi station and make it reach Agra in 90 minutes or even in 105 or 110 minutes has been abandoned. In fact, when starting from New Delhi, the flagship train was making little improvement on time from the existing Bhopal Shatabdi. So Railways chose the safe bet of starting it from Nizamuddin station so that it reaches Agra in 100 minutes.
The train’s fares will be higher than that of a Shatabdi.
The train will have 12 coaches of Executive Class as well as chair cars. It is yet to be decided whether to allow commercial booking for the inaugural run or start it the following day.
With its timing not proving to be much to boast about, Railways has decided to present exceptional on-board services as Gatimaan’s USP. According to a Railway Board member, the train will have “Rail Hosts and Hostesses” dressed in a blue uniform, specially designed for them. A private service provider has been appointed to carry out end-to-end passenger interface activities including checking of the tickets.
Passengers will also get a wide variety of food options to choose from — continental, Indian, Italian, Indian and others.