New Delhi railway station’s Executive Lounge is a class apart
Soon, waiting for a train will not be an ordeal at many major railway stations across the country. Starting with New Delhi railway station, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is planning about 50 similar executive lounges at various railway stations.
A passenger can book a lounge for four hours after paying the entry charge. A facility of advance booking will be extended to people on IRCTC website, once the lounge comes into existence.
The facilities at the lounge would include a reclining sofa or a couch, free meal, both vegetarian or non-vegetarian, snacks drinks and beverages, Internet surfing, magazines and newspapers.
The round-the-clock lounge will also have a gift (bouquet) corner, medicine counter and dial-a-taxi service available on payment.
The lounge will be of much use to passengers who come on an official visit to the city and do not stay longer than few hours. The facility can even be used by those who have to wait at the station to board the next train to their destination.
Just like the best airports in the country, the station’s revamped executive lounge offers facilities like massage centre, 5D movie theatre, business centre, recliners
On April 5, Agra Cantonment Railway station became the second in the country to boast an airport-like lounge. The inauguration of IRCTC’s lounge at the station coincided with the inaugural run of the country’s fastest train, the Delhi-Agra Gatimaan Express.
Apart from these two, Jaipur railway station too has an executive lounge. The IRCTC has already awarded tenders for similar executive lounges at 19 more railway stations including Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Sealdah, Howrah, Guwahati, Patna, Vijayawada, Kathgodam, Bhubaneshwar, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Puri, Nagpur, Madurai, Bengaluru, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Gorakhpur.
“The executive lounge at Agra Cantonment station boasts more features and comforts now compared to when it was opened in April. The facilities at the executive lounge at New Delhi station are at par with the best airports in the country and we are trying to offer similar facilities at Agra Cantonment and Jaipur stations too,” said a senior IRCTC official.
“We plan to have such lounges at about 50 railway stations, but tenders have been awarded for station that see the highest passenger footfalls and passenger earning presently,” he said.
Imagine putting your feet up and turning on the reading light as you sit ensconced in a cushy recliner in a heavily-curtained room bathed in soothing light. All this while reading minus the sounds of nearly five lakh passengers and 300 trains moving around you at the New Delhi railway station!
Welcome to the “napping zone” of the railway station’s just revamped executive lounge. The revamped lounge, being run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), saw a soft launch on May 25.
The lounge will now offer facilities like massage centre, a small 5D movie theatre, family rooms, business centre, comfortable sitting areas with complimentary drinks and a buffet offering some great food. It will offer a spa, health centre and many more facilities by the next month.
“The facilities we are offering now at the station are better than what one gets at many airports and that too at a cost that is 20 per cent of what one shells out at an airport,” said a senior IRCTC official.
The executive lounge is open to all bonafide railway travellers and the entry fee is Rs.150 for two hours. This allows a traveller to sit in the air-conditioned lounge and enjoy complimentary drinks like tea, coffee, lemonade, ice tea, etc., apart from the use of free wi-fi, and a spic and span toilet. After the first two hours, passengers will have to pay Rs.50 per hour. Those opting for a buffet breakfast have to shell out Rs.100 extra, while lunch or dinner will cost Rs.200. The lounge also offers wash and change facilities, which cost Rs.150 and include a complete bathing kit and toiletries.
The lounge is accessible through a swipe card, issued to a passenger at the time of check-in. The swipe card also calculates the time spent at the lounge. Entry is free for children up to three feet tall.
Also, passengers will get an added facility in the form of an executive lounge at Charbagh railway station soon. This lounge will provide a comfortable stay as well as free refreshment and meal. It would be developed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
The plan for an executive lounge each at the main and the junction station at Charbagh had been pending since 2012. Delay in allotment of land by zonal railways kept the plan waiting.
IRCTC has received the land proposal from the zonal railways and is working on it. “The lounge will be developed at platform no. 1 at both the stations,” said chief regional manager, IRCTC Lucknow, Ashwini Srivastava. While the main station may have the lounge next to the restaurant, the junction station may have it in the main hall.