NEW DELHI: The launch of Nizamuddin-Agra Gatiman Express, the first semi-high speed train to run at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, today is the beginning of the execution of the Railways' ambitious aim to increase the speed of the trains.
Aiming at increasing speed of all trains, Railways has announced Mission Raftar in the budget.
"Our aim is to increase speed of all trains including passengers and mail/express trains. We have started work on the mission to increase speed. Launching of Gatiman is in that direction," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said while flagging off the train here.
Gatiman started its journey at 10.10 AM and reached Agra at 11.50 AM covering the 188 km distance in 100 minutes. In return journey, the semi-high speed train started at 5.52 PM and reached Nizamuddin 7.32 PM.
According to Agra Divisional Railway Manager Prabhash Kumar, the track was strengthened to enable the Gatiman to run at 160 km per hour speed.
At some stretches, the train has picked up the speed upto 160 km per hour while on an average the train has run at about 115 km per hour speed.
In another first in Railways, 10 train hostesses and 10 stewards have been deployed to serve food to passengers.
The fare of Gatiman has been kept about 25 per cent higher than that of Shatabdi trains but passengers are not complaining.
The service, including food, is better so the increased fare is okay with us, said A K Jain, a retired government employee travelling in the inaugural run said.
Jain said the comfort level is better here and the travel time has also been reduced.
Mohan Hegde, another passenger, said "so far it looks good. But it has to be seen whether the upgraded service is sustained or not. We are ready to pay more if better service is ensured."
Railways has enhanced passengers amenities in the Gatiman. While the food on the offer is Indian and continental, improved coach interiors with wide windows, bio-toilets besides free multimedia services enabling passengers to view movies, news and cartoons during their journey to Agra.