Indian Railways’ third privately operated train, named Kashi Mahakal Express, is all set to roll out on 20th February 2020, a day before Shivratri. After the launch of two Tejas trains which are being operated by the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC), the third train will run between Indore and Varanasi. The train will run three days in a week.
It will be the first private train that will do an overnight journey and also operate from the holy town of Varanasi. Currently both the Tejas Express trains operated by the IRCTC return to their point of origin on the same day.
The coaches in the train is expected to come with comfortable seats LED lights, CCTV cameras for the safety and security of the passengers and will also come with multiple mobile charging points. The decision to run a private train on the Indore-Varanasi route was first announced by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on 12 January (Details).
He said that a special train will soon operate from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, which is famous for the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The train will be run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the minister added.
In the last few months, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started operating private trains on two routes — Delhi-Lucknow and Ahmedabad-Mumbai.
While the infrastructure, maintenance, operations and safety will be handled by the Indian Railways, private train operators can take rakes on lease and provide better on board experience and services to passengers, in terms of food, comfort, entertainment, among others.
Earlier, Railway board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said that while 150 trains to be run by private players is in the pipeline, till the modalities are worked out, the IRCTC will continue to operate them.
In fact, the railways’ move to let private companies run passenger trains has attracted more than two dozen firms, including global majors Alstom Transport, Bombardier, Siemens AG and Macquarie.