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.”
To 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.
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.