The Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, the first regular train service to be managed entirely by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will offer free travel insurance of Rs 25 lakh to each passenger and a host of add-on services that include a luggage pick and drop service, the company said on Thursday.
The train will be launched in October and is a part of a deal to run two such services — the other one being between Ahmedabad and Mumbai— as a kind of pilot project by Railways to develop a model for private operators to run passenger trains in the future.
These trains will not have any concessions and tatkaal quotas.
A unique facility available on Tejas trains will be the pick and drop of passenger luggage, the logistics of which are still being worked out.
“IRCTC is planning a scheme whereby it will ferry the luggage of passengers from their homes to their seats and from the seat to their destination on a payment basis. For this, discussions are underway with service providers. This is to ensure that passengers can travel without being concerned about their luggage. All the luggage will be insured,” the document said.
A similar system is followed in Japan for Shinkansen trains in which passengers travel without any onboard luggage.
Bringing in private train operators to provide world-class passenger service was a proposal mooted by the Railways in its 100-day agenda as part of its move to hand over certain trains to private operators.
“Passengers of IRCTC’s Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express to get free Rs 25 lakh rail travel insurance. The passengers of this train will also be given the facility of using retiring rooms at Lucknow junction station and executive lounge at New Delhi Railway station and lounge for meetings on demand,” an official statement said.
The document also said the fares of the train will be dynamic and competitive as against taxi, bus and flight fares on the same route. Fares will be decided based on peak or lean season, festival season and according to demand, it said.
Unlike the 120-day advance booking period, IRCTC’s trains will allow bookings 60 days prior to the day of journey.
The train will also have a chair car which will give passengers the opportunity to book group tickets on first-cum-first-serve basis. For group bookings, 78 seats in one AC chair car will be available and they have to be booked at least three days in advance from the date of journey. This facility will be available online.
Free tea and coffee will be in the offing through vending machines and water will be provided through RO machines on demand. Just like in flights, meals will be served by on-board staff using trolleys.
The train is likely to depart from Delhi at 4.30 pm and reach Lucknow at 10.45 pm and on its return journey, it will depart at 6.10 am and reach the Capital at 12.25 pm. The train will run six days a week, except on Tuesdays. The timings are yet to be finalised.