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Railways plan premium trains during Holi rush

The last pilot on the Delhi-Mumbai route during the New Year period was a highly profitable project for Railways

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All set to make most of the festive rush, Indian will monetise on the increased passenger demand during this month by running two on New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Jammu Tawi route.

Four trips on New Delhi-Mumbai route and six trips on New Delhi-Jammu Tawi route are planned to cater to the increased passenger demand.

Premium trains on 17 routes were one of the key announcements of the Interim this year.

The last pilot on the Delhi-Mumbai route during the New Year period was a highly profitable project for the national transporter, which led to an increase of earnings by about 48%.

Unlike the special trains run each year to cater to additional traffic during festive season, the premium trains will be run over and above the routine trains and the fares will increase with the demand curve starting with the base fare of tatkal.

According to experts, during the festive peak domestic air fares are expected to soar by about 10-12%. A one way ticket to Mumbai from New Delhi is currently available at over Rs 7,000 and the prices are further expected to shoot up upto Rs 10,000.

The trains will only have AC II tier and AC III tier class of travel and can only be booked through the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation online portal with no provision for cancellation, unless the Railways cancels the trains.

The trains will run non-stop between the destinations and bookings for the trains starts today.

"There are seasonal and occasion-specific instances when the demand for travel by certain trains goes up. On such occasions, passengers are prepared to pay more to undertake their journey," said Railway Minster, ,while underlining the need for premium trains in his budget speech in Parliament.

It is estimated that the Railways normally earns about Rs 19 lakh from a one-way journey on a train like Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani. But the premium trains are still far from making up for the loss the Indian Railways suffers on running passenger operations. Railway passenger fares were subsidised by about Rs 25,000 crore this financial year.

Owing to the fare hikes last year with innovative projects like premium trains, passenger revenue was 37% of freight revenue in 2012-13; it improved to almost 40% in 2013-14 and is projected to rise to over 42% in 2014-15.

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