Air Fare Now Becomes Cheaper Than Rail Fare

An air ticket can sometimes be cheaper than a rail ticket !
The erstwhile gap between rail and air fares is progressively being reduced.


In case of Rajdhani, only the first 10% of berths are at current prices. The rest 90% will be sold at prices starting at 10 per cent higher than the base fare and ending at 50% cent more for 2AC and 40% for 3AC. That is, the Rajdhani fare may become greater than the air fare! 1AC Rajdhani fare is already more than a normal air fare. This decision of Indian Railways to introduce dynamic pricing for select premium trains appears to be encouraging more and more people to resort to air travel. However, low-priced air tickets that are seen are normally meant for very few seats while most of the seats are generally sold at higher rates as the journey date comes closer. This is what dynamic pricing is all about.

Travel times between Delhi and Patna –

By Train –

Normal Travel – 12 hrs by Rajdhani, and 13.5 hrs by Sampoorn Kranti. (Present Fastest Trains)
+ 0.5 hr minimum waiting time.

By Air –

Normal travel – 1.3 hrs
Reporting time – 2 hrs early

Clearly, 2AC rail and air fares are equivalent.

As part of reforms, despite an uproar over the move from the opposition, Indian Railways introduced dynamic pricing on premium trains.

Railways have later clarified that the model was introduced on an experimental basis and it will be reviewed after some time.

As per AirAsia India CEO Amar Abrol, “While air travel on some routes are cheaper than train ticket, people are unaware of it. However, the dynamic pricing of train tickets would definitely help low cost airlines to get more passengers.”

Humsafar Fares should have been 20% Cheaper

Humsafar, a special class service comprising only AC-3 coaches. Trains With CCTV, GPS, Lap-top charging points, Braille Display Coming Up !

Services to begin between New Delhi and Gorakhpur.

Indian Railways had introduced dynamic surge fares on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains from September 9, drawing wide spread criticism from the opposition parties. Now, the Railways has announced that ‘Humsafar’ trains are going to be launched by October 2016. The launch is likely to begin between New Delhi and Gorakhpur.


The Humsafar, will focus on India’s middle-class travellers, it will be an exclusively 3-tiered AC train with optional meals.

Point to be noted : Humsafar fares will be about 20% more than the normal Mail/Express services.

During the presentation of the Rail Budget 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced Humsafar – a special class service comprising only AC-3 coaches with many additional facilities for inter-city overnight journey.

Humsafar is a special class train different from the normal AC-3 coaches as it is equipped with CCTV, GPS-based passenger information system, fire and smoke detection and suppression system and mobile, laptop charging points with every berth.

Besides, Humsafar has widely improved aesthetics with new interior and exterior colour scheme presenting a futuristic look with the use of vinyl sheets similar to Maharaja Express coaches. It will also have integrated braille displays.

“Since the train is a special class service with many modern facilities, it has cost more to railways. So the fare will accordingly be on the higher side to match the additional cost. The fare structure has not been firmed up yet and is being worked out. Fare should not exceed beyond 20 per cent of normal Mail/Express fare,” say Railways officials.

As per Railways, Humsafar will be launched as overnight inter-city service on high-demand routes and some of the destinations have been identified.

Delhi – Gorakhpur 3AC Fare comparison :

82406/Delhi – Darbhanga AC Suvidha Special Rs 1515
12566/Bihar Sampark Kranti SF Express (PT) – Rs 1135
22412/New Delhi – Naharlagun AC SF Express – Rs 1125
12204/Amritsar – Saharsa Garib Rath Express – Rs 750

Humsafar – Rs 1365

The development has drawn mixed response from the rail users and analysts. Some welcome it while most of them are unhappy because of 20% extra. Some analysts suggest that Humsafar fares should not have been increased. The present Garib Rath services, widely used by the commuters, is also a special service and its fares are less than a normal Mail/Express fare. With the same logic, Humsafar fares should not have been set high. The supporting argument put forward by the Railways is – ‘the train is a special class service with many modern facilities, it has cost more to railways.’ This logic can not be justified. The prime requisite anticipated by the passenger during  a train journey is only one. That is, it should reach its destination as per its scheduled time. Other so-called passenger friendly amenities are not essentials. The Railways could have saved its costs by not providing those unnecessary extras. However, had the Railways guaranteed punctuality, the passenger would have happily paid 25% more !

LHB Coaches for All Mail and Express Trains

LHB coachTo provide more comforts to passengers, Railways has decided to introduce Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches in all mail and express trains in the country in a phased manner. The LHB coaches are based on the German technology, ensuring foolproof safety and comforts for passengers. LHB coaches are presently being used in Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto and Sampoorna Kranti Express trains. Railways would manufacture about 3500 coaches, out of which 500 would be LHB coaches, in the current fiscal. While a conventional coach costs about Rs 15 million, an LHB coach costs about Rs 25 million. The LHB coaches are anti-telescopic and they are equipped with fire retardant and advanced couplers to join coaches. As LHB coaches are anti-telescopic, they cannot turn turtle in case of derailment or collision. In case of fire, there is no toxic fume and black smoke inside these coaches.LHB Rakes

Trains with LHB coaches are fit to run at the maximum speed of 160 km/hour on the existing track condition on the Patna-New Delhi, Patna-Mumbai and Patna-Howrah tracks.

Railways will run Archana Express (12355-12356) between Rajendra Nagar Terminal and Jammu Tawi with LHB coaches from September 10 to improve passengers’ comfort and increase the load combination. The train has received a good response from passengers visiting Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu & Kashmir.

According to East Central Railway (ECR) CPRO Arvind Rajak, the load combination of this train will now be of 22 coaches, including two 2AC, three 3AC, 11 sleeper and three general coaches. However, the number of 3AC coaches will increase to four from September 18, he said, adding that passengers had been demanding an increase in AC3 coaches in this train.