NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off the first semi-high speed train Hazrat Nizamuddin- Agra Gatimaan Express, the fastest train in the country running at a maximum speed of 160 kmph. However, it is only 7 minutes faster than the Bhopal Shatabdi which was started in 1998 and touches a maximum speed of 150 kmph.
This is the first among the nine semi-high speed trains announced by the government. It took two years for the Railways to get clearance from the Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) to increase the speed to 160 kmph, which is only on some sections. The trains are generally run on a speed of 130 kmph.
Earlier, it was panned to run Gatimaan Express between New Delhi and Agra but it was rescheduled from Hazrat Nizamuddin to reduce the time limit between the two destinations.
Railways PSU IRCTC has made arrangements for deploying train hostesses, for the first time on board the train. It will see improved catering and will have options for different kinds of cuisines. This train will see improve catering and will have options for different kinds of cuisines.
The coaches have been fitted with bio toilets and are fit to run at 160 kmph. The fare for chair car in fully air conditioned Gatimaan Express has been fixed at Rs 750, while for Executive Class it will be Rs 1,500. In the Shatabdi Express, the chair car fare is Rs 540 and Rs 1,040 for Executive Class.
Powered by a 5500 HP electric locomotive, the non-stop train will have two Executive AC Chair Car and eight AC Chair Car coaches. The coaches to be used in Gatiman Express train are new LHB coaches with enhanced passenger amenities.
"It is a happy occasion for us as the first semi-high speed train Gatiman starts today. We want to increase speed of all trains whether ordinary or express as part of our raftar mission. It is not an easy task. It will take time but we have made a plan," Prabhu said.
Other semi-high speed sections include Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahemdabad, Chennai- Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad, Delhi-Chandigarh and Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai.
Another unique feature of this train is free of cost on board entertainment facility. Under this facility, passengers can view various entertaining videos during travel on their Smart Phones, Tablet or Laptops even without internet connection through Wi-Fi.
The coaches have also been fitted with balanced draft gear couplers for reducing jerks and ensuring a smooth ride. No concessions are admissible in the Gatiman train. The 12050 Nizamuddin-Agra-Nizamuddin Gatiman Express will run six days a week except on Fridays in both the directions.