The Indian railways has decided to hand over the functions of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express to its subsidiary, IRCTC. Earlier, Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express was handed over in similar way. The railway is in plans to rope in private management to run certain trains. IRCTC will also have the authority to decide the passenger fare on these two trains.
According to a blueprint developed by the Railway Board to hand over the two trains to the railways' tourism and catering arm for three years as a pilot project, no concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed on these trains. Also, the railways said that on-board ticket checking on IRCTC trains will not be done by the railway staff.
Nevertheless, it said the trains will be uniquely numbered and operated by the railways' operating staff -- loco, pilots, guards and station masters. The sources also revealed that the services of these two trains will be at par with the Shatabdi Express trains and given a similar priority.
Railways proposed brining of private train operators to provide world-class passenger service in its 100-day plan. The sources said handing over the two Tejas Express trains to IRCTC was a first step towards that.
IRCTC to handle two trains for a period of three years
With this, IRCTC will have the rights for advertisements inside and outside the coaches, including branding of the trains. It can also make modifications inside the rake without affecting its structural safety.
The sources also said that IRCTC will be allowed to use the railways' web portal for ticketing for a year and the revenue accounts of these two trains would be maintained separately. Simultaneously, the Railway Board has instructed IRCTC to develop its own ticketing system.
According to the reports, the trains will have 18 coaches each. However, IRCTC will be allowed to run the trains with a minimum of 12 coaches for a period of one year. The haulage charges would be calculated per trip, based on the number of coaches used on each trip or 12 coaches, whichever is higher. IRCTC will need to pay for the custody of trains, including spares. The railways will also provide maintenance for the trains.