The Indian Railway has introduced two more superfast, non-stop Duronto Express trains – this time, between Pune and Hazrat Nizamuddin, and between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai and Howrah. Both strains are bi-weekly.
The Railway decided to launch the 2 Duronto Express trains from Maharashtra after it obtained clearance from the Election Commission of India.
Since the Model Code of Conduct for Elections is in place for the Maharashtra Assembly elections to be held on October 13, 2009, the Election Commission had directed that no minister should be involved in the flagging-off of the 2 trains.
The 2263 Pune-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express leaves Pune at 11.10 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday and arrives at Hazrat Nizamuddin at 7.10 a.m. the next day. On the return leg, the 2264 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Pune Duronto train starts from Hazrat Nizamuddin every Monday and Thursday at 11.00 a.m. and arrives at Pune at 7.20 a.m. the following day.
The 2262 Howrah-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Duronto Express will depart from Howrah at 8.20 am on every Monday and Friday and will reach Mumbai at 10.30 a.m. the next day. In the return direction, the 2261 Duronto Express leaves Mumbai at 5.15 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday and reaches Howrah at 7.40 p.m. the next day.
The Howrah-Mumbai train will pass through Nagpur, but it will not have a commercial stoppage there.
The Railway has announced that there will not be any Tatkal quota in the Duronto Express trains as also many other concessions. There will be no discounts on tickets – under any scheme – for students, patients, the physically challenged, artistes and others in Duronto trains. However, senior citizens will get concessions.
According to reports, the non-availability of the Tatkal scheme on Duronto Express trains has displeased the business community, for whom the Tatkal scheme was of much help.
An official of the Railway said that since the non-stop, air-conditioned Duronto Express trains have facilities such as food and bedrolls like in the Rajdhani trains and since the fares in the Duronto trains are rather low, concessions cannot be given to the passengers.
In the Railway Budget for 2009-10, Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee had announced that a total of 12 Duronto trains would be introduced.
Out of the promised 12 Duronto Express trains, 4 have been launched – for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai.
Mamata Banerjee also announced that all the Duronto trains will run within the next 2 months.