The railway ministry has reversed its earlier order of discontinuing the Indore-Bhopal double-decker train. After daylong drama, the railway authorities issued a statement on Tuesday evening stating that the railway board has quashed the decision to discontinue the double-decker train till further orders.
The double-decker train has been running for almost a year but it has failed to attract passengers.
"The railway board issued an order in the month of June to discontinue the double decker train 22183/22184 Habibganj-Indore and 22185/22186 Bhopal-Indore with effect from August 13, 2014. The order has been cancelled by the board today," stated a press release from general manager, west central railway, Jabalpur office.
Earlier in the day, members from the BJP and the Congress assembled at Indore railway station and submitted a memorandum to the authorities stating that the train should not be discontinued. Bhopal railway station witnessed emotional scenes when passengers learnt that this would be the train's last run. Now, they would be relieved with the decision of continuting the train's run.
A few months ago, member of Parliament from Indore Sumitra Mahajan had also urged the railway ministry not to discontinue the Indore-Bhopal double-decker train. The railways had taken a decision to discontinue the fully air-conditioned train as it was incurring huge losses.
The train was inaugurated with much fanfare on September 27, 2013 by then minister of state for railways, Adheer Ranjan Choudhary. The train has evoked a poor response due to high fare and odd timings.
Even as the passengers have praised comforts, most of them found ticket fare a bit high. The fare varies from Rs. 355 to Rs. 395. While private taxis charge Rs. 300-350 per passenger, luxury buses charge Rs. 250-300 and ordinary buses charge less than Rs. 150.
Another problem is the train timing. While intercity express departs at 7am and reaches Bhopal at 10.30am, the double-decker train departs from Indore at 10am. So, people in Indore who have official work in Bhopal are still preferring Intercity Express. The fare of AC chair in Intercity is also around Rs. 275, lower than the AC fare for the double-decker train.
Most passengers are of the view that the fare should be around Rs. 300. Tafseer Hassan, a passenger, said the train is good but its fare should be lesser. "Travelling in such a train breaks the monotony of travelling in routine trains," he said.
Initially, the train had 15 coaches including 14 passenger coaches and a generator car. However, in December, 2013 it was reduced to five coaches including four passenger coaches and a generator car. In February, 2014, the train became one of smallest trains of the country as it has only four coaches including three passenger coaches and a generator car.