NEW DELHI: The railways has decided to shun its elitist bias and extend Project Swarn to mail and express trains so as to improve passenger amenities in trains patronised by the less privileged class. The project was so far restricted to premium trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi.
The decision was taken at a meeting attended by top railway officials, sources said. “Project Swarn will be extended to second level of trains. While selecting the trains, the approach must not be elitist. The trains which are patronised by the poorest of the poor must also be identified,” said the minutes of the meeting.
The Ministry of Railways launched Project Swarn last year with the aim of improving passenger experience across nine dimensions — coach interiors, toilets, cleanliness, staff behaviour, catering, linen, punctuality, on-board entertainment and security. The railways can spend up to `50 lakh per rake (set of coaches) for upgrade of trains to ‘Swarn Standard’.
It was initially decided that 14 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains would be covered. With improved amenities, aesthetics and hygiene standards, the first Swarn Rajdhani between New Delhi and Sealdah was launched in November 2017.
“Zonal railways have been asked to select other trains so that all passengers get to travel in comfort,” said a ministry official. “Some of the coaches undergoing mid-life rehabilitation at Bhopal workshop are being upgraded to make model rakes for Mahamana trains.”