Chennai-Delhi Duronto Express

Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 16:46 by Business Editor

The second Duronto Express – the superfast, non-stop, point-point train – has started service between Chennai Central station and Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi.

The first Duronto train, between Sealdah in Kolkota and New Delhi, was flagged off the other day.

The inaugural run of Southern Railway’s Chennai-Delhi Duronto Express – which covers a distance of 2,177 kilometres – was flagged off by at Chennai Central by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The Duronto Express departs from Chennai Central 6.40 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and arrives at Hazrat Nizamuddin at 10.35 a.m. the next day (on Tuesdays and Fridays.) In the return direction, the express will leave Nizamuddin at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and reach Chennai at 8.10 p.m. on Wednesdays (the next day. The other day of departure from Hazrat Nizamuddin is yet to be unannounced.

The Chennai-Delhi one-way trip on Duronto Express costs Rs 2,530 for the air-conditioned 2-tier coach – as against Rs 2,625 on the Rajdhani Express and Rs 1,960 on Tamil Nadu Express and Grand Trunk Express.

On both the Duronto Express and the Rajdhani Express, the fare includes the cost of food.  In air-conditioned 3-tier coach, the Chennai-Delhi fare is Rs 1,925 for Duronto Express, Rs 2,005 for Rajdhani Express, and Rs 1,429 for Tamil Nadu Express and Grand Trunk Express.

The Duronto Express has a speed of 130/kmph since its coaches are made with  upgraded stainless steel, which makes the coaches lighter by about 2 tonnes each, compared to conventional coaches.

However, the Duronto takes nearly 28 hours (27 hours and 55 minutes) to cover the 2,177-kilometre distance between Chennai and Delhi. The running time is 28 hours and 10 minutes for Rajdhani Express, 33 hours for Tamil Nadu Express, and 35 hours for Grand Trunk Express.

A journey in the sleeper-class of Duronto Express costs an extra Rs 760, compared to Rs 528 in Tamil Nadu Express and Grand Trunk Express.

The coaches in Duronto Express are longer than the conventional coaches. There are 72 berths in the air-conditioned 3-tier coach, and 78 berths in the sleeper-class. The Duronto’s additional safety features include auto-closing vestibule doors (which means, each coach gets sealed in the event of a fire) as well as better thermal insulation and sound insulation.

According to M S Jayanth, general manager of Southern Railway, the special design enables the coaches to run at a speed of 130/kmph, compared to 110/kmph that is allowed to conventional express and mail trains.

The speed of the Duronto Express will be raised once the Chennai-New Delhi rail track is upgraded, resulting in further saving of about 2 more hours, Jayanth  said.

The introduction of the Duronto Express takes the number of trains running between Chennai Central and Delhi to 7. This is in addition to the 2 trains operating between Chennai Egmore and Delhi.

Of these North-bound trains, only the Chennai-New Delhi Tamil Nadu Express and the Chennai-New Delhi Grand Trunk Express trains are operated daily. While the Chennai-Jammu Tawi Express runs 3 days a week, the Chennai- Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express and the Gharib Rath runs 2 days a week, and the Chennai-Dehradun Express, once a week.

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