NEW DELHI: India's fastest train Gatimaan Express seemed to have created a buzz among Taj visitors as all the tickets have been booked for its first weekend journey.
The country's first semi-high speed train between Nizamuddin and Agra capable to run at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour was flagged off on April 5 and since then it is gradually gaining popularity amongst the travellers, according to Railway officials.
While the bookings were ranging between 40 to 50 per cent from April 6 and 7, it was in much demand for the weekend journey on April 9 and 10. Gatimaan bookings were 100 per cent as per the reservation status and tickets were wait-listed for the weekend journey, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Targeting tourists, railways has enhanced passengers' amenities in the train with improved catering service and it takes 100 minutes to cover 188 km long distance between Nizamuddin railway station and Agra.
Gatimaan is gaining momentum as the booking and reservation status for the weekends is running housefull and rather wait-listed which is a good indicator of its popularity, said the official. Encashing its popularity, IRCTC, railways' tourism and catering arm, has also offered two different Agra guided Heritage packages to coincide with the existing time-table of Gatimaan Express.
While one package is for a single day, the other is for two days. The tariff for the full-day package, which includes guided visit to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, lunch at a reputed local restaurant, AC vehicle for sightseeing, entry ticket to monuments and time for shopping, has been fixed at Rs 2,100 for an Indian adult and Rs 2000 for a child (5-11 years).
For foreigners, it is Rs 3,900 for an adult and Rs 2,000 for a child.
According to the IRCTC, the two-day package to Agra comprises visit to the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daulah, Mehtab Bagh, Fatehpur Sikri and Sikandra, buffet lunch and dinner, accommodation at Jaypee Palace, a five-star hotel, guide services, AC vehicles for sightseeing and entry tickets to monuments.
The tariff for the two-day package is Rs 14,500 (single occupancy), Rs 10,800 (double occupancy) and Rs 10,300 (triple occupancy). For child with bed (5-11 years), the tariff has been fixed at Rs 7,000 and for child without bed (5-11 years), it is Rs 3,800.
For the foreigners, the tariff is Rs 17,600 (single occupancy), Rs 13,900 (double occupancy) and Rs 13,400 (triple occupancy). For child with bed (5-11 years), the rate has been fixed at Rs 7,000 and for child without bed (5-11 years), it is Rs 3,800.
While booking tickets on the IRCTC portal, passengers have the option of choosing either of the two packages. IRCTC CMD Dr A K Manocha said Gatimaan Express, which heralds India's entry in the era of semi-high speed rail travel, has tremendous tourist potential.
"Our packages have been synchronized with the timings of the train, and it will be a boon for time-conscious travellers. The packages are comprehensive and hassle-free and take care of every single need of a tourist, IRCTC CMD AK Manocha said.