Few takers for railway’s dirt cheap ‘janata khana’

‘Janata khana’ of railways is more popular among non-passengers than passengers at Indore railway station, going by buying of so few food packets. Hardly 40 packets are sold from the railway canteen daily. Even out of this measly number, many are not passengers.

The 350-gm food packet, sold at a nominal rate of Rs 15, failed to become popular among passengers and canteen owners are making no profit. Anil Jain, who runs the railway canteen, told they prepare around 60 packets of food each day. Of these, nearly 35-40 are consumed.

Jain told auto-rickshaw and van drivers regularly buy packet-friendly meal and many times they end up distributing packets among destitute in night. “At times we are left with so many unsold packets that we have to give these to beggars outside the station. Despite good quality food being served, passengers do not buy. At the platform number 1, due to metre gauge trains running, we don’t get many buyers,” Jain added.

At platform number 4 and 5 where most express trains arrive also have few takers while on platform number one meter guage. Jain tells most express trains either start journey or arrive here at the station. Given the situation, passengers simply do not buy.

“We are running it on no-profit-no-loss basis and unlike in many other stations, where it is successful, ‘janata food’ has failed to click in Indore. Auto drivers and shopkeepers outside station find it as a best deal for daytime meal.”


Soon, better food and facilities on trains

Very soon you can expect better food and facilities in trains as Northern Railways is going to implement a new catering policy.

Northern Railway General Manager Vijay Kumar Gupta announced on Saturday that the division will also contract a new caterer.

Releasing the new timetable, Gupta said: “The food quality on trains operating under the Northern Railways will be much better from now. It is a continuous process. We provide food to around a lakh people daily.” The new schedule will come into effective from July 1.

Gupta also announced 42 new trains, including 33 express trains and nine passenger trains. Frequency of nine trains have been increased while the routes of 15 express and two passenger trains have been extended. To curb the menace of touts in railway bookings, he said the Northern Railways has constituted a team of officers and inspectors of the commercial department and Railway Protection Force to check all important outlets. Additional general manager BP Gupta, chief operating manager Mohd Jamshed, chief commercial manager Vijaya Sinha, divisional railway manager AK Sachan and other senior officers were present on the occasion.


Supply of Bedrolls to Passengers for Improved Comfort

South Central Railway has taken up another initiative in the supply of Bed rolls in trains with a view to improve the levels of comfort to the passengers. Under this initiative, woollen blankets are being supplied directly wrapped full length in a cotton cloth cover for enhanced comfort in Train No. 12797/12798 Kacheguda-Chittoor-Kacheguda Venkatadri Express.

Passengers feel better and improved satisfaction since the fabric feel of the cover is softer than that of woollen blankets and gives more warmth. The aesthetic, eye pleasing pastel shaded cover of the blanket can be washed after every trip facilitating maintenance of the blankets with improved hygiene.

In addition, moth repellents are also being placed in the linen storage area in coaches to safeguard the blankets and to counter stale odour from blankets.

As there is positive feedback o­n this from the passengers, SCR is taking steps to expand this initiative by introducing this measure o­n other express trains also in a gradual manner.


Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Low-cost Yuva trains likely to introduce AC-3 tier coaches

The economical Yuva train service is likely to introduce additional AC-3 class coaches to augment its earnings since its present seating arrangement has got poor results for cash-strapped Railways.

The Railways has been running two Yuva Express trains with AC chair car facilities for the past three years connecting the national capital with Kolkata and Mumbai.

“Though the two AC trains are running on two important routes which have heavy demand throughout the year, the earnings are not up to the mark,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.
About 10,500 passenger trains run daily and the loss in the passenger earnings has gone up to Rs 25,000 crore in the current fiscal and Railways is trying to reduce the loss margin by initiating several measures including curbing on its expenditure.

The Railway official said the idea to add AC-3 tier coaches came since passengers prefer sleeper berth facility in overnight journeys and Yuva trains currently provide only seating arrangements.

“We are planning to add AC-3 tier in both trains to accommodate more passengers as the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes are always high on demand,” the official said.

Targeting youth and low-income group in the age group of 18 to 45 years, the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced low-cost Yuva trains with AC chair car facilities to counter her predecessor Lalu Prasad’s Garib Rath Express.

Initially 60 per cent of the total seats were reserved for youths and passengers of the low-income group, while the remaining were meant for general passengers.

However, the occupancy rate in youth quota seats was found to be less than 15 per cent and Railways was forced to reduce the youth quota to 20 per cent in September 2011.

The fare of the Yuva Express with AC chair car facilities in 10 coaches ranges from Rs 80 for the first 100 km, Rs 299 for up to 1,500 km and a maximum of Rs 399 up to 2,500 km for the unemployed and low-income group youth.

Yuva trains are being run on important routes with carefully chosen stoppages to ensure good ridership and Railways wants to utilise the full potential of the service, the official said.

Flat-screen TVs in Shatabdi, express trains

Get set to learn to cook an exotic dish or hear some interesting health care discourse the next time you travel on a few trains on the Chennai-Bangalore section or the Thiruvananthapuram-Guruvayur section.

Such shows are being telecast on flat screen television sets on five trains – the Chennai-Bangalore-Chennai and the Chennai-Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express, the Lalbagh Express and the Thiruvananthapuram -Guruvayur-Thiruvananthapuram express – in the first phase of the new on-board entertainment programme.

Soon, popular movies and television serials would be telecast directly via satellite on more trains. One of the first services to have this system was the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Shatabdi Express, say railway officials.

However, the move has not gone down well with some early morning commuters. “Who is interested in a flat screen television blaring about how to cook pasta at 6 in the morning when one wants to sleep,” asked M Venkatakrishnan, who recently travelled on the Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi express.

It would be better if head phones were given to passengers instead of the televisions blaring and disturbing sleeping passengers, he said.

Since last week, passengers travelling on the Chennai-Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi trains have been viewing these programmes. Four flat screen monitors have been installed in all coaches.

Soon, “the on-board entertainment system will include films, music, a photo gallery, games, information about the various destination cities, routes and other features,” said officials. A few months later, every seat will have its own TV console fitted with head phones for entertainment, they added.

Informed sources said Shatabdi Express superfast trains connecting nearest metro cities and important tourist, pilgrimage and business centres are the among the first to get this facility.

The three-year contract for the five trains has been awarded to Choice Vision, Trivandrum and its subsidiary Transvision Digital Media Private Limited, Chennai.

Southern railway chief public relations officer V J Accamma confirmed the move and said that “as of now only public awareness messages and a few other programmes are being telecast.


Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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