After flagging off Duronto Express, the fastest train ever to run on Indian tracks, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to inaugurate trains at record speed as well. She has chosen February 7 to start as many as 19 new train services. Out of these, 12 are brand new trains, while the seven others will get extended routes.
According to railway ministry sources, Banerjee is in a hurry to start the train services she had announced in her Budget in July last year. In her Budget speech, she had announced as many as 57 new trains, including 14 Duronto (non-stop). Along with this, the railway minister had promised to extend the routes of 27 more trains.
As her next Budget is barely three weeks away, Banerjee needs to implement what she had announced earlier, before unveiling another set of new trains in the 2010-11 Budget, on February 24.
The list of new trains include two Duronto Express and a Shatabdi Express. The two Durontos will run on Lucknow-New Delhi and Allahabad-New Delhi routes. Banerjee will also inaugurate a Shatabdi Express, connecting Kanpur and New Delhi.
Such is the rush that she has chosen Kanpur (North Central Railway) as the single platform to flag off trains that fall in the jurisdiction of the North-East Frontier Railway (headquartered in Maligaon, Guwahati) or Southern Railway (Chennai). In fact, apart from the Konkan Railway zone, the programme schedule of the minister in Kanpur has been sent to the general managers (GMs) of all other 16 railway zones of this country. All the trains will pass through Uttar Pradesh, many stopping at Kanpur.
In the internal circular of the Railway Board sent to the GMs, the Railway Board says: “If required, the above trains may be planned as special services for inaugural run and should pick up its regular service subsequently.”
Some railway officials see this note as an indication that while some of the trains may be inaugurated in principle, regular service may not begin in the near future.
Though Banerjee has indeed implemented most of her promises like Yuva Express, ladies special trains, Izzat schemes, she has so far been able to run only six out of her 14 pet Duronto trains.
Some other trains promised in her last year’s Budget are also awaiting green signal.