More than 2,000 passengers have booked tickets in the first IRCTC-run train, Tejas Express, from Lucknow to New Delhi and back, within two days of the opening of counters, officials said on Sunday.
The bookings for the Tejas trains - number 82501 from Lucknow to Delhi and 82502 from Delhi to Lucknow -- began on Saturday. As on Sunday evening, while the Tejas train from Lucknow to Delhi has 749 bookings, on its return journey it has 1,549 for journeys to be taken till November 20, the officials said.
Most bookings are between October 23 and October 26, just ahead of Diwali. This is the first train of the Indian Railways that will be fully run by its subsidiary IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) and is the national transporter's first step towards privatising operations of some trains.
Bringing in private operators to provide world-class passenger amenities was a proposal mooted by the railways in its first 100-day agenda under the Modi 2.0 government as part of its move to hand over certain trains to private players.
Passengers will also, for the first time, have the option of choose combo meals on board -- catering charges of Rs 185 for AC chair car and Rs 245 for Executive Chair Car are included in the ticket prices -- for the full length of the journey (Lucknow to Delhi).
The maximum charge (Delhi to Lucknow) will be Rs 340 and Rs 385 respectivel Both category passengers will be offered some refreshment right after boarding. They will have two options -- Tea/Coffee (pre-mix kit) with cookies (chair car), premium cookies for Executive class.
And option 2 -- pre-packaged nimboo pani with cookies (CC); flavoured lassi in lieu of nimboo pani in Executive Class. For breakfast, passengers can choose from a vegetarian combo of two pieces of vegetable cutlets with poha. The other combo is two pieces of vegetable uttapam with vermicelli and coconut chutney for all.
The other combo includes two pieces of Medu Vada and suji upma and coconut chutney. A non-vegetarian option is also available which includes masala omelette and sautéd vegetables. In all these combos, additional cornflakes, sugar sachet and milk will be provided to executive class passengers.
Passengers can also order additional edible items such as branded Mishti dahi/Mango dahi, two pieces brown bread, butter, tomato ketchup, branded fruit juice, Tea/Coffee kit, salt and pepper, mouth freshener.
Just before the end of the journey, passengers will be served light refreshments like small masala samosa/branded cookies with tea/coffee premix; additional muffin/slice of cake for Executive class. The Tejas Express will be flagged off on October 4 but will begin commercial operations from the next day.