In the routing checking of the seat availability for the coming days, it was found there are at least 675-700 available seats in AC coaches and 30-35 in the executive AC coach, right till December.
In May, the Central Railway authorities were excited about launching the premier Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express in the hope that it would be their gravy train, but the country’s first semi-high speed train seems to have quickly run out of steam. It has been running empty for days now, at what should be a peak time, and hasn’t seen many reservations even for the year-end months.
Almost 90 per cent of seats in the 13-coach train, which has two power cars and an engine, were vacant for its past many runs, CR sources said. “During monsoons, trains are less crowded. But it is surprising that even in the months of October to December, full of festivals, the train hasn’t seen many bookings,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity. Besides, now is the time when Konkan region is said to be scenic and receive visitors, he said.
When randomly checked seat availability for the coming days, we found there are at least 675-700 available seats in AC coaches and 30-35 in the executive AC coach, right till December. An executive-class coach in Tejas has 42 seats while each AC coach has 65 seats.
CR officials, concerned about the drop in demand, complained that when quality services are provided at a slightly steeper cost, people shun them. “It feels futile to improve the condition of services, accessories and food quality inside premier trains,” an official said.
In the month that Tejas Express was flagged off by former railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the train was running to capacity each way. But then, in June, demand from Mumbaikars heading for Goa dropped to 67 per cent, and further to 23 per cent in July, before picking up, at about 55 per cent, in August.
Railway officials claim that demand during monsoon is normally low, be it railways or airways, but in this case, even the festive months of November and December haven’t seen holiday-goers line up for bookings.
Built in the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, the train is capable of running at 200 kmph, but usually runs at 160-180 kmph due to track constraints.
CSMT-Karmali Tejas Express: Reservations
May 24-31: 100 per cent
June: 66.57 per cent
July: 23.15 per cent
August: 55.08 per cent
May: 100 per cent
June: 69.47 per cent
July: 24.74 per cent
Aug: 33.9 per cent
– Touchless water taps, soap dispenser, marble finish anti-graffiti coat, hand dryers
– Vinyl-wrapped exteriors, secured gangways to reduce sound levels, dirt, water ingress
– Electro-pneumatic air brakes, fire and smoke suppression system
– CCTV cameras, GPS based public address system
– Call bell integrated with berth reading light, digital destination boards
– TV with touch control
– Local cuisine and celebrity-chef menu