The Duronto high speed express trains that were introduced as a 'cheaper' first class alternative to the Rajdhani and Shatabdi, will see a fare hike that will bring it on par with both these services.
The fare hike which will come into effect from 10 October, is over and above the 2 percent fare increase that has already been announced, according to The Hindu.
However the Indian Express reports that it's not just the fare that is changing on the Duronto.
A number of measures that are a part of the original product attributes of the Duronto have been altered slowly since Mamata departed from the ministry last year. The on-board doctor service has been truncated because of lack of demand for the service in the face of shortage of medical staff. The colourful vinyl wrapping on the exterior of the unique Duronto coaches may be changed too. The only aspect that has yet remained unchanged is its non-stop run.
The Duronto trains were widely seen as one of the more lasting legacies of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's tenure as railway minister. The high speed express trains clock faster than even the Rajdhani due to the fact that it makes fewer stops.
There are currently 33 active Duronto services running in India.
The main features of the train service (apart from higher speed) include an air-conditioned Economy Class to accommodate more passengers, and 16 colourful coaches - a first in Indian rail history. (Read more about the train here)
At the time of its launch, Telegraph India quoted a railway official as saying,:“The design was primarily conceived by the minister herself. Such colours have never been seen in the railways and she wanted this new train to be bright and colourful which would go along with its speed.”
Little wonder then, that the Times of India anticipates a very angry Mamata Banerjee in the wake of all these changes. The report says: Mamata Banerjee's pet Duronto Express seems to have fallen out of favour with railway management. The move by railways top management is expected to annoy Banerjee, and may further worsen Congress-Trinamool Congress ties.
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Updated Date: Oct 06, 2013 13:13:54 IST