BHUBANESWAR: Humsafar Express, a new train between Bhubaneswar and Krishnarajapuram, which would improve connectivity with Bengaluru, was flagged off by railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday.
Prabhu unveiled the train through video conferencing. Apart from providing more options to travellers heading to Karnataka, the new train has improved travel safety as it is fitted with Link-Hofmann-Busch (LHB) coaches which minimise crumpling and piling up during accidents.
Currently, there are just four superfast trains operating from the East Coast Railway (ECoR) jurisdiction with LHB coaches.
The fully air-conditioned train is equipped with bio-toilets, CCTV cameras in each compartment, very early smoke and fire detection systems as well as passenger announcement systems. The train was announced in the Rail Budget.
Prabhu also laid the foundation stone for a mechanised laundry at Bhubaneswar which will improve the quality of bedroll lines provided in the trains. The laundry which will be established in a BOOT model is expected to be ready by February. It will have a daily capacity of 14 tonnes, tipped to be the biggest in Indian Railway.
The laundry will also be the third in ECoR jurisdiction after Puri and Vizianagaram. Work for the project has been awarded to a Hyderabad-based firm at a cost of Rs 85.55 crore. It has a contract period of 10 years.
Similarly, free wi-fi was also unveiled at Sambalpur and Vizianagaram on the occasion. The Railways have planned to start the wi-fi facility at Jagdalpur, Raygada, Berhampur, Bhadrak, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road and Srikakulam by the end of the financial year.
Minister for civil aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union water resources minister Uma Bharti, Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram and minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan were also present.