The Indian Railways is tirelessly working towards achieving greater heights of performance. From Tejas sleeper type to introducing Vande Bharat trains in the upcoming time, the centre of all projects has been the ease, comfort, and safety of passengers. Now, as a new feature, ‘Economy Class’ will be introduced in train travel. This much-awaited air-conditioned Economy class is all set for rollout. A total of 27 coaches have been designed specifically for this particular class. These coaches have been distributed among various zonal railways for use.
Trains under Western Railway and other trains originating from several other parts of the country will have these new AC-Economy coaches. Unlike AC-III tier coaches, these trains have 83 berths instead of 72. However, the fares of these coaches have not been decided yet by the Railway Board. The fares will most likely be finalised after proper comparison with AC-III tier coaches and the current entry-level of AC travel in long-distance trains.
A part of the Indian Railways’ management believes that the fare should be within the reach of those people who generally buy non-AC ‘Sleeper’ tickets. While there is another line of argument which backs that the fares should be as close to that of the AC-III tier. As per the officials, the matter on fare has been hanging between the two sides since May. It is also learned that the ministry is likely to take a formal decision on the pricing in the next meeting of the Railway Board.
If we talk about the design, the economy class on the face of it appears to be an upgrade from the non-AC sleeper while being almost on par with the AC-III tier, with an extra bay for the additional berths.
The Indian Express reported that this concept was worked upon because the government wanted to introduce affordable AC travel. It revealed that as per the internal discussion of the board, the new class will be named 3E in the reservation paper.
The ‘AC Economy’ class with additional berths has been a failure earlier when the Garib Rath trains inserted more middle berths. The passengers faced discomfort and a series of complaints were filed.