Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu is about to flag off India's fastest train, Gatimaan Express, for Agra from Hazrat Nizamuddin station here, heralding the country's entry into the era of semi-high speed travel with a range of modern passenger amenities.
Curious passengers await the inaugural run of Gatimaan, which offers a sumptuous cuisine, pipe music, pleasant decor, Wi-fi and infotainment onboard.
With stewards and hostesses for the first time onboard a train on the lines of flight attendants, the 12050 Nizamuddin-Agra Gatimaan Express will cruise at a top speed of 160 km per hour and is expected to cover the 188-km distance to the city of Taj in just about 100 minutes.
The indigenously built Gatimaan Express, targeting time conscious tourists, will run six days a week, except Friday, in both directions. Powered by a 5,400 Horse Power electric locomotive, the non-stop train has two executive chair cars and eight AC chair car coaches.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), an arm of the rail ministry, is managing the onboard arrangements from catering to housekeeping and provision of train hostesses.
Skilled with proficiency in English and attired in neat and colourful dresses, the hostesses are welcoming passengers and ushering them to their seats even as soulful music plays in the background.
The Railways plans to roll out similar trains on nine other routes from Delhi to Kanpur, Chandigarh, Hyderabad-Chennai, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mumbai-Goa and Nagpur-Secundarabad.