‘Anubhuti’ coaches, executive lounges to up comfort level

Rail passengers can now look forward to some comfort not only while travelling but also during the long wait at stations. Keeping in mind the demand for higher comfort while travelling on trains, the Railway Minister announced the introduction of an ‘Anubhuti’ coach with “modern facilities and excellent ambience” in select Shatabadi and Rajdhani trains at a “commensurate fare structure”.

Rail Tourism

Also, the Railways will extend the concept of ‘executive waiting lounges’ at the New Delhi Railway station to seven more stations — Agra, Nagpur, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Bengaluru and Jaipur. Passengers in these cities can look forward to some luxury while waiting on stations. If exactly modelled on the lines of the executive lounge at the Delhi station, they will get buffet meals, snacks, soft beverages, recliners for short naps, access to Wi-Fi besides business facilities for a fee.

Indian Railways will also tie up with Jammu and Kashmir State officials to launch a multi-modal travel package for tourists to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar through a common rail-bus ticket. Also, it is looking at the feasibility of issuing “yatri-parchee” (passenger slips) to pilgrims in co-ordination with the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, as it has commissioned a railway line till Katra.

Cleanliness, Hygiene

The Minister, referring to constant complaints about cleanliness and hygiene in trains and stations, said, “As a frequent rail-traveller, I have experienced this personally. Resource constraint cannot be a reason for subs-standard services.” Among the slew of measures announced for enhancing passenger amenities is identifying 104 stations that serve more than one million persons and upping the cleanliness quotient. Other initiatives will focus on extend mechanised cleaning facilities and on-board housekeeping schemes to more stations and trains. The Railways will also set up eight-10 mechanised laundries for quality washing of linen.

Rail Neer, Food

To increase availability of clean packaged water, the Railways will also invest in setting up six additional “Rail Neer” bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Also, on the cards is upgrading 60 additional stations as “Adarsh Stations”. Efforts will also be made to include more facilities for announcements and electronic display boards on-board trains for information dissemination.

Passengers can also get lodge food-related complaints to the Centralised Catering Services Monitoring Cell on a toll-free number — 1800111321 — for real time solutions. For effective quality control of meals, Railways is also tying up with food testing laboratories and getting third party audits done, besides setting up state-of-the-art base kitchens in railway premises.



Railways to open three more executive lounges at city stations

The Railways will open executive lounges on the lines of those seen at airports at three railway stations in the Capital -Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) opened one such lounge at the New Delhi railway station earlier this month.

Rakesh Tandon, IRCTC’s managing director, said, “Many more lounges, including three in Delhi, have been committed in the rail budget speech. I’m hopeful of a permission from the higher authorities this month itself. Work is likely to start in the next financial year.”

Anurag Sachan, divisional railway manager (Delhi) of Northern Railway, said, “Yes, that’s the idea. After New Delhi station, we will set up the facility at other three important stations in the Capital. We will work out the modalities with IRCTC for an early start.”

Tandon said footfall, demands from passengers and requisite space were the criteria of selection. “When passengers are ready to pay, we must provide such airport-like facilities,” he said.

The New Delhi station lounge offers buffet meals, soft beverages, snacks, a business centre, TV sets, newspapers, magazines, separate dining areas for groups and families and recliners. The Railways is issuing a Rs. 300 smart card to each passenger for three hours. If a passenger wants to stay there for more than three hours, he will have to spend an additional Rs. 125 per hour. If somebody wants to wash and change, he will be given a kit at an additional charge of Rs. 175.

“The lounge at New Delhi station costs us R5 crore. We’re getting a good response – as many as 110 persons a day. These lounges can be used by anyone with a rail or even a passenger ticket. Those coming to the station to see off passengers can also avail the facilities,” Tandon said.


Published in: on December 29, 2012 at 6:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sites located for executive lounges at Charbagh station

There is progress in the development of the first executive lounge planned at Charbagh railway station. The sites have been identified for the two lounges to come up at both Charbagh and Lucknow Junction (LJn) station for passengers who visit the city for official purpose and do not have to stay for longer than a few hours. The facility can be used also by those who have to wait at the station to board the train to their next destination.

The lounge will be developed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Zonal railways have to identify locations for building the lounge and hand it over to IRCTC for construction. The main station has identified a location close to platform no. 1. “It is yet to be handed over to us,” said Manoj Sinha, chief regional manager, IRCTC, Lucknow. On the other hand, things are under process at LJn. The North Eastern Railway (NER) has identified the site for developing the lounge in the new hall which has been constructed at LJn.

An executive lounge will not only provide a comfortable stay, but also free refreshments and a meal. A passenger can book a lounge for four hours and pay Rs 300 as entry charge. A facility of advance booking will be extended to people on IRCTC website, once the lounge comes into existence. It will be of much use to passengers on a break-journey. There might be a facility to book it in advance too. Once the lounge comes up, IRCTC will decide on other facilities that can be provided at the place.

The facilities at the lounge would include a reclining sofa or a couch, free meal-vegetarian or non-vegetarian-snacks, drinks and beverages, Internet surfing, magazines and newspapers. The round-the-clock lounge will also have a gift (bouquets, etc) corner, medicine counter and dial-a-taxi service. But, all these facilities will be on-payment. “It’s because of the range of facilities that we wish to provide at the lounge that at least 3,000 sq ft space will be required to build it,” said the official.

IRCTC has decided to set up executive lounge in Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Kathgodam and Allahabad. After identification of sites for developing the lounge, the bidding process will begin once permission from the competent authority (General Manager) is granted. IRCTC has allowed tendering in Delhi and Lucknow.


Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Executive lounges, escalators at major railway stations soon

With a view to facilitate hassle- free passenger boarding, Railways have decided to introduce a slew of measures including setting up of executive lounges and installation of escalators at 50 major railway stations.

Like airport lounge, the executive lounge, a first in Railways, will have facilities like seating arrangement, food and beverage, wheel chairs for senior citizens and the handicapped.

“The executive lounges will come at stations like New Delhi, Howrah, Mumbai and Bangalore to provide value added service at a charge offering concierge services by trained staff for pre-departure and post-arrival assistance to passengers,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

The lounge will also have Wi-Fi facility, business centre with fax, laptop facility, locker facility and washroom.

Railways have allocated Rs 1,102 crore for 2012-13 to improve passengers amenities services.

“We will also be installing 321 escalators at important stations to facilitate easy movement of passengers in the next five years. The installation of 50 escalators will be commissioned during this year,” he said.

In order to improve the hygienic condition, Railways plans to commission 6 more mechanised laundries to provide clean bedsheets, pillow covers and towels during the train journey. Currently, 12 mechanised laundries are functioning. An approximate 2.5 lakh bedrolls are required daily for trains in the country.

“With the operationalisation of mechanised laundries, it will be easier for Railways to provide clean and steam washed bedrolls to passengers,” the official said.


Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 8:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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