India’s first private train Tejas Express will not be operating from Monday, November 23. The operations of Lucknow-Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express will stop due to the shortage of passengers. The decision has been taken by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
It is said that the trains were going 65 percent empty. A report by The Times of India quotes a railway official saying, “We need at least 80% occupancy to make it viable.”
The private train from Lucknow-New Delhi was inaugurated on October 4, 2019 and ran for almost six months, before the operations were halted on March 19, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express started in January 2020 and could operate for almost 3 months before its operation was halted. The train was briefly resumed in October but the low occupancy has motivated the decision to stop its operations.
In a statement by IRCTC, the management had said that this train is being cancelled due to a shortage of passengers resulting from Covid-19 pandemic. IRCTC further said in a statement, “The company will review its decision after seeing the occupancy level of other trains of Indian Railways operating in both these routes.”
Train number 82501/82502 Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas Express is going to stop running from November 23, while train number 82901/82902 Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express will stop running from November 24.
Earlier, these two Tejas Express were resumed on October 17 because of many festivals in October which prompted travelling. IRCTC had taken all the precautions for keeping the train operational. A standard operation procedure (SOP) was also followed in the two trains.
Due to the pandemic, Tejas Express offered 429 seats for reservation instead of the standard 736 seats to promote social distancing.
The train featured some of the most modern facilities found in Indian trains. It was the first semi-high speed fully air-conditioned train of India operated by private operators IRCTC, a subsidiary of Indian Railways.