Mamata flags off first Duronto, assures more faster trains
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009, 00:27
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," Banerjee said.

"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 express.

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".

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009, 00:27

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