Kolkata: Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee
on Friday flagged off Sealdah-New Delhi Duronto express, the
country`s first point-to-point non-stop train, with an
assurance that 13 others will be launched soon.
However, the run of the train was halted for half-an-hour
at Dankuni station following a problem with the pantograph,
which connects the train with the overhead wire.
"Duronto is a new idea. We are thinking in terms of
introducing more faster trains in the country in future,"
"It will be faster than Rajdhani and other trains. The
point-to-point train will be very helpful for common people,
businessmen and students," Banerjee said after flagging off
The Duronto express will cover the 1447-km distance
between Sealdah and New Delhi in 16 hours 20 minutes. The
train will have no commercial stop, but has three operational
stops at Dhanbad, Moghalsarai and Kanpur Central.
The 16-coach train comprises one AC-1, three AC-II, four
AC-III and five AC-III(economy) coaches.
Stating that the Railways could not compromise on safety,
Banerjee said the 14 Duronto expresses announced in the
Railway budget would be operational shortly.
These trains will be launched in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai
and Bangalore as a pilot project. "If it becomes popular, we
will try to introduce them in all states."
The Howrah-Mumbai Yuva express was ready, but could
not be introduced right now because of elections in
Maharashtra this October, she said.
The Railway Minister said to provide comfort and
amenities to the increasing number of passengers, short term
and long term policies should be formulated. "We must take
care of senior citizens and physically challenged".
Stating that Railway fares had not been hiked despite
steep price rise, Banerjee said "we kept the fares of the
superfast Duronto express low. We want to make Indian Railways
more competitive, but with a human face."
Condemning the practice of squatting on railway tracks
during agitations, she said "frequent obstruction will lead to
financial loss when the country is passing through recession.
The pace of development is affected".