Bangalore (SBC): When the first double-decker train service was launched between Bangalore and Chennai on April 25, 2013, it was dubbed as a game changer and historic. But nine months after the service was launched, the double-decker train is running empty, thanks to inconvenient timings and design-related issues.
The Indian Railways had launched the train in its bid to provide modern and luxury services to passengers. Bangalore-Chennai was the first segment to get the train, which can carry 1,320 passengers at a time. But regular passengers and railway officials said that the train is never full and is occupied by not more than 50 per cent of its capacity.
An officer said, “The first day-first service was a national event. Unfortunately, there has been no demand for the train from both destinations. For the first few days, the train was almost full, because of the curiosity factor. But now the occupancy rate is very low.”
Another railway official described it is a dead investment. “More money was routed to manufacture these coaches as they were uniquely designed. Now the train is failing to get the expected returns. It has neither helped the travel and tourism industry, nor the ordinary passenger,” he said.
When spoke to the passengers who had reserved seats in the train, their main complaint was the design. Ramesh Nayak, a retired state government officer, said that non-availability of sleeper coaches could be one of the reasons for poor response.
“Those who want luxury service generally opt for low fare air services, rather than taking the train. Initially, the authorities said that the train had international level facilities, but the reality is that it is like any other train. It has upper and lower coaches and travel experience is not great as stated,” he said.